Nick Zakelj NFL Draft 2022: Scouting Report for Fordham OT
HEIGHT: 6'6 1/8"
HAND: 9 7/8"
ARM: 32 1/2"
WINGSPAN: 6'6 3/8"
40-YARD DASH: 5.13
— Generates jarring torque with his inside hand to influence and knock defenders off balance and upfield on hinge blocks.
— Has the foot quickness and dexterity to mirror, stay light on his hands and reset up the arc.
— Plays with an edge to run his feet and drive defenders through the whistle.
— Uneven weight distribution results in leaning, getting off balance and falling off too many blocks.
— Consistently falls for stutters and hesitations, biting hard inside or out to provide easy access to his edges.
— Takes choppy steps in his pass set with too much air under his feet, leaving him slow to redirect against countermoves.
— Horrendous tape versus Holy Cross due to disastrous technique in pass protection.
— 12 starts at left tackle.
— First-team All-Patriot League selection.
— First-team All-Patriot League selection in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
— 45 career starts (38 at LT, 7 at RT).
Zakelj is a four-year starter in Fordham's zone run scheme and has 45 career starts predominantly at left tackle. He flashes jarring torque with heavy hands to knock defenders off balance and upfield on hinge blocks, with a mean streak to finish defenders through the echo of the whistle.
Zakelj showed the foot quickness and hand exchange to reset and mirror rushers up the arc against Nebraska at the beginning of the season, but he has had shaky performances against lesser competition, including a terrible game against Holy Cross, during which he was unable to protect the corner in pass protection.
He is often unbalanced, leaning and unrooted from the ground in pass protection, with a bad habit of over- or under-setting shifty rushers. He struggles with maintaining his pad level through contact and gets stood up too often on angle-drive blocks.
Overall, Zakelj has flashed some notable power, quickness and tenacity against the best competition he faced (Nebraska), but he has played down to competition in other games with sloppy technique that results in getting stood up in the running game or beaten clean around the edge in pass protection.
Zakelj has bursts of talent that make you take notice but is hot and cold with a lot of issues to clean up. He is likely a backup for the foreseeable future but has some alluring traits to take a shot on late in the draft.
GRADE: 5.8 (Backup/Draftable - 6th-7th round)
OVERALL RANK: 255
POSITION RANK: IOL28
PRO COMPARISON: Colby Gossett