49ers select Nick Zakelj with pick 187

The 49ers selected OT Nick Zakelj out of Fordham with the 187th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft

Overview

Decorated four-year starting tackle with NFL-caliber size and traits. Zakelj plays with strain and aggression. However, his block sustain and finish are occasionally derailed by modest knee bend and core strength at the point of attack. Athletic feet and reactive athleticism allow him to stay connected to outside edge speed or inside counters in his pass sets. Despite his foot agility, he is just average in getting three-techniques reached on backside zone blocks, but there is a noticeable pop into initial contact when coming off the ball and getting downhill. Field toughness, an NFL frame and pass protection ability give Zakelj a shot as a swing tackle with the potential to develop into a bigger contributor.

Strengths

  • NFL size and length for the tackle position.
  • Plays with athletic hands and feet in pass protection.
  • Pass sets with independent hands and quality hand resets.
  • Agile and fluid in redirecting his weight and mirroring rushers.
  • Good feel for pocket depth and riding the rusher around the arc.
  • Patient off snap to locate and catch slanting defenders.
  • Displays hand pop into first contact in run game.
  • Block finisher’s effort and demeanor.

Weaknesses

  • Very average knee-bender.
  • Below-average pad level and leverage as drive blocker.
  • Power players able to knock him off-balance at point of attack.
  • Will have some issues securing reach blocks on the outside zone.
  • Loses base width as pass set progresses.
  • Lacks desired stoutness on outside edge in pass pro.
  • Occasional lunging issues pop up from time to time.

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