Ty Zimmerman, S, Kansas State (HT: 6’1”; WT: 204 lbs)
NFL Comparison: Dawan Landry, Safety, New York Jets
- Impressive size and length for a free safety. His ability to match up with big red-zone targets is invaluable for NFL defenses.
- Excels while in zone coverage, both deep and intermediate, as he reads the quarterback's eyes well.
- Eye-discipline is impressive, as he improved from 2012 to 2013 in single high zone. He wasn’t manipulated often, despite playing against spread offensive systems weekly.
- Play recognition ability is highly refined. It’s uncommon for him to start the play with negative steps, or taking steps in the wrong direction. Identifying the play instantly saves valuable time in coverage.
- Route recognition is above average for both man and zone coverage. Reading the route correctly allows him to play the ball because he already knows where the receiver is going to be.
- Very good at playing the ball. He can bait the quarterback into throwing the ball, and then get to the ball right before the receiver makes a play on it.
- He’s a solid linear athlete for his size as he attacks the line of scrimmage. He’s able to eat up yards from the secondary due to long strides.
- As a sure-tackler, he can be trusted when in the open field with a ball-carrier. Finished tackles at an 83 percent rate for the 2013 season.
- Willing run defender, as he doesn’t hesitate to sprint from the deep secondary to force a ball-carrier outside.
- He is the most developed safety of the class as far as his mental ability. He understands where he wins on the field and how he can overcome some of his physical traits.
- Played special teams throughout his time at Kansas State. His willingness to embrace being great on special teams will endear him to coaches anywhere.
- A high-ceiling player due to advanced football mind. It would be surprising to see him wash out of the league.
- A physically limited player due to athletic traits. He will have to win by being efficient, smart and reliably staying within the scheme.
- His top-end speed is below average; so teams may not use him in Cover 1, single-high safety. Being limited to covering half of the field could lower value.
- Lateral quickness is poor due to lack of foot speed in short areas. To compensate, he tries to run downhill more often than running sideways.
- Hip fluidity in man coverage is limited and stiff, so he will be a target if the offense can get quick slot men lined up against him.
- If he’s not in good position to take the right angle or to make the tackle, his physical limitations won’t let him overcome the mental mistake. He has to fill his running lanes consistently to avoid gashing runs.
- Burst might not be good enough to reach the ball in time before completion at the next level.
- Somewhat limited ceiling due to average athleticism. Although he can be a good player, he will have to play with great reliability and instincts.
- 2013 All-Big 12 First Team (coaches).
- 2013 AP All-Big 12 First Team.
- First four-time all-conference honoree in school history.
- Graduating with a degree in social sciences.
- Former 2-star recruit out of Junction City, Kan., via Rivals.com.
Ty Zimmerman is unlike most of the top safeties in this class because he wins with his eye-discipline and advanced mental state. His physical profile is very average for an NFL safety, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him be a productive NFL starter within the first few years of being drafted.
Draft Projection: Fourth Round