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Possible 1st Round Targets: Zach Cunningham my choice

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  • Possible 1st Round Targets: Zach Cunningham my choice

    ILB Zach Cunningham looks to be my early candidate for our first rounder.... Jabril Pepper (Michigan), Foster (Alabama), and Davis (FLA) are other options.... I think OL and NT will be addressed in free agency....

    If Cam slips then you obviously grab the stud OT... but I don't see a OL worthy of our pick....

    I'm not sure if there's a stud DL either that would be hard to pass on... but we need a young stud ILB and Cunningham is that guy.

    Welcome to Harris Highlights! The #1 Highlight Channel on YouTube(↓↓ click show more ↓↓)check out my podcast: http://www.soundcloud.com/blakehharrisSnapchat:...




    Good players from Vanderbilt can often get lost in the mix of strong front-7 options in the SEC, but linebacker Zach Cunningham deserves national attention. The former four-star recruit has gained about 30 pounds since entering college while maintaining the athleticism that made him an attractive high school player. Still, Cunningham didn’t receive the big-time offers he probably deserved. Now at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, his size and athleticism compare favorably to the best SEC linebackers, and his on-field performance matches up just as well.

    After playing 423 snaps as a redshirt freshman in 2014, Cunningham broke out in 2015 with a +21.9 overall grade that ranked 16th among the nation’s linebackers and third in the SEC. He graded positively in all three phases – against the run, in coverage, and as a pass rusher – with his work in the run game ranking second among SEC linebackers and his run stop percentage of 13.4 percent ranking sixth among the nation’s inside linebackers.

    The first thing that stands out when watching Cunningham is his speed and physicality. When left unblocked, he flies to the ball and his strong closing speed puts him in position on a number of plays. Cunningham attacks blockers with vigor, aggressively using his hands to take on and defeat blocks in the run game. The athleticism shows up in coverage as well, as Cunningham has the range to make plays in zone coverage as well as the movement skills to match up with opposing tight ends and running backs. He uses his length to make plays on the ball in coverage, and that’s a part of his game that will make him an excellent NFL prospect as his understanding of the game continues to progress.

    Cunningham shows his range and length in coverage:

    zach cunningham

    Cunningham beats the block and makes the play in the run game:

    zach Cunningham 2

    If there’s one place in which Cunningham must to improve, it’s his ability to finish plays and tackle. He’ll often attack ball carriers too high, leading to his falling off too many tackles or whiffing completely. Even when he does complete the tackle, he doesn’t finish with quite the same power that he shows when looking to take on blocks.

    Cunningham whiffs on the easy tackle:

    Cunningham 3

    Cunningham missed one of every 9.7 tackle attempts — 44th-best among inside linebackers — which is actually better than former Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith fared as a sophomore in 2014 when he missed one out of every 6.6 attempts. Smith improved his tackling as a junior before going down to injury and getting drafted in the second round by the Dallas Cowboys, and if Cunningham can make similar strides, he’ll put himself in great position to become an All-American and potentially a top-round draft choice.

    With a strong showing as a redshirt sophomore, Cunningham has already attracted the NFL’s attention, it’s now time to take the next step in his game. He’s flashed range and play-making ability in coverage, and improving his play recognition will put him in position to make even more plays. Cunningham is a willing run defender, capable of taking on and defeating blocks, but he must improve his tackling and ability to finish plays. If he can continue to progress, Cunningham heads into the 2016 season as a potential All-American candidate and NFL scouts will be keeping a close eye on his development whether he comes out this year or in 2017.

  • #2
    Zach Cunningham*, ILB, Vanderbilt
    Height: 6-4. Weight: 230.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.75.
    Projected Round (2017): 1-2.
    12/17/16: In 2016, Cunningham has 119 tackles with 16.5 for a loss, three passes batted and one forced fumble. He has been a phenomenal run defender with excellent instincts. Cunningham is strong to take on offensive linemen, shed blocks, and then make tackles. He has done well in pass coverage and showed the ability to be a three-down starter in the NFL. There has been buzz about Cunningham in scouting circles, and teams are giving him late first-round/early second-round grades.

    8/13/16: There has been some buzz about Cunningham in scouting circles. It can be hard to get noticed playing when playing for a team that has struggled on the field, but Cunningham managed to do that in 2015 as he turned in a strong season. He totaled 103 tackles with 16.5 tackles for a loss, 4.5 sacks, three passes batted and four forced fumbles on the year. Cunningham was only a redshirt sophomore last season and has upside to develop.

    Comment


    • #3
      Zach Cunningham’s illustrious career at Vanderbilt earned two more accolades on Monday. The junior linebacker was named a first-team All-American by both the Associated Press and ESPN.

      Cunningham is the first Commodore to ever earn ESPN’s honor. He’s the first Vanderbilt non-special teamer to be named to the AP’s first team since George Diederich in 1958.

      Cunningham led the SEC with 119 total tackles this fall. His diving stop of Isaiah McKenzie on fourth-and-1 preserved a 17-16 upset win on the road against Georgia midway through the season. Three weeks later, he gave the ‘Dores a chance to upset Auburn with an insane blocked field goal that displayed his other-worldly athleticism.


      The junior was instrumental in pushing Vanderbilt towards its first postseason berth since 2013. Though he has one year of NCAA eligibility remaining, it’s unlikely he’ll return to Nashville for one last spin with the Commodores. He’s currently projected to be a first-round draft pick after his breakout 2016.

      Comment


      • #4
        Von and Rey need a stud in the middle.... add this to Marshall, Wolfe, CHJr, Roby, Simmons and Parks.... keep our strength strong... nourish the core!

        We need a guy to stuff run and cover...
        Last edited by fraguela09; 12-26-2016, 09:13 PM.

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        • #5
          I would trade up for Robinson. If he's not realistic then Foster. Of course I'd also get rid of the modified 40 under the Broncos are currently running and switch to a regular 40 front full time. I'd move Miller to end and quit asking him to cover except in exotic zone blitz looks.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by fraguela09 View Post
            ILB Zach Cunningham looks to be my early candidate for our first rounder.... Jabril Pepper (Michigan), Foster (Alabama), and Davis (FLA) are other options.... I think OL and NT will be addressed in free agency....

            If Cam slips then you obviously grab the stud OT... but I don't see a OL worthy of our pick....


            I'm not sure if there's a stud DL either that would be hard to pass on... but we need a young stud ILB and Cunningham is that guy.

            Welcome to Harris Highlights! The #1 Highlight Channel on YouTube(↓↓ click show more ↓↓)check out my podcast: http://www.soundcloud.com/blakehharrisSnapchat:...




            Good players from Vanderbilt can often get lost in the mix of strong front-7 options in the SEC, but linebacker Zach Cunningham deserves national attention. The former four-star recruit has gained about 30 pounds since entering college while maintaining the athleticism that made him an attractive high school player. Still, Cunningham didn’t receive the big-time offers he probably deserved. Now at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, his size and athleticism compare favorably to the best SEC linebackers, and his on-field performance matches up just as well.

            After playing 423 snaps as a redshirt freshman in 2014, Cunningham broke out in 2015 with a +21.9 overall grade that ranked 16th among the nation’s linebackers and third in the SEC. He graded positively in all three phases – against the run, in coverage, and as a pass rusher – with his work in the run game ranking second among SEC linebackers and his run stop percentage of 13.4 percent ranking sixth among the nation’s inside linebackers.

            The first thing that stands out when watching Cunningham is his speed and physicality. When left unblocked, he flies to the ball and his strong closing speed puts him in position on a number of plays. Cunningham attacks blockers with vigor, aggressively using his hands to take on and defeat blocks in the run game. The athleticism shows up in coverage as well, as Cunningham has the range to make plays in zone coverage as well as the movement skills to match up with opposing tight ends and running backs. He uses his length to make plays on the ball in coverage, and that’s a part of his game that will make him an excellent NFL prospect as his understanding of the game continues to progress.

            Cunningham shows his range and length in coverage:

            zach cunningham

            Cunningham beats the block and makes the play in the run game:

            zach Cunningham 2

            If there’s one place in which Cunningham must to improve, it’s his ability to finish plays and tackle. He’ll often attack ball carriers too high, leading to his falling off too many tackles or whiffing completely. Even when he does complete the tackle, he doesn’t finish with quite the same power that he shows when looking to take on blocks.

            Cunningham whiffs on the easy tackle:

            Cunningham 3

            Cunningham missed one of every 9.7 tackle attempts — 44th-best among inside linebackers — which is actually better than former Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith fared as a sophomore in 2014 when he missed one out of every 6.6 attempts. Smith improved his tackling as a junior before going down to injury and getting drafted in the second round by the Dallas Cowboys, and if Cunningham can make similar strides, he’ll put himself in great position to become an All-American and potentially a top-round draft choice.

            With a strong showing as a redshirt sophomore, Cunningham has already attracted the NFL’s attention, it’s now time to take the next step in his game. He’s flashed range and play-making ability in coverage, and improving his play recognition will put him in position to make even more plays. Cunningham is a willing run defender, capable of taking on and defeating blocks, but he must improve his tackling and ability to finish plays. If he can continue to progress, Cunningham heads into the 2016 season as a potential All-American candidate and NFL scouts will be keeping a close eye on his development whether he comes out this year or in 2017.
            i am still in the mindset that if cam is there 10 or later you pull the trigger to get him
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            oakland raders gm
            latavis murray trade bait

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            • #7
              Two skill players I covet are Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook. The former would not only be a good change of pace back and receiver, but also a weapon on special teams. Cook would instantly become our starter and make the unreliable C.J. Anderson expendable. Now, both of these picks are dependent on whether or not the OL gets fixed in FA. If it doesn't, I can see Elway trying to get Cam Robinson as Butler suggested or another top tackle like Mike McGlinchey or Ryan Ramcyzk.

              On defense, I'm cool with any top DL or LB.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by gerontion View Post
                Two skill players I covet are Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook. The former would not only be a good change of pace back and receiver, but also a weapon on special teams. Cook would instantly become our starter and make the unreliable C.J. Anderson expendable. Now, both of these picks are dependent on whether or not the OL gets fixed in FA. If it doesn't, I can see Elway trying to get Cam Robinson as Butler suggested or another top tackle like Mike McGlinchey or Ryan Ramcyzk.

                On defense, I'm cool with any top DL or LB.
                everything i have read indicates him returning to nd
                sigpic
                oakland raders gm
                latavis murray trade bait

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                • #9
                  I think it's possible Elway trades up to grab Cam.... he might also fall into our laps, and if we feel comfortable settling for Dion Dawkins (OT from temple) or Ryan Ramcyzk (OT, Wisconsin) in the second round we may just wait and hope that happens....

                  To me, outside of a no-doubt about it, step in and dominate from Day-1 OL (like DAL OL studs) I feel the next biggest need is a 3-down, do-it-all ILB (ala Lee & Keuchly)....

                  If Kelce gaining 160 yards didn't prove that.... man...

                  So, this is our year to grab that guy.... our difference slipped from historically great to very good b/c of the Trevathon loss and Marshall injury )along with the Malik loss and Walker injury)....

                  I feel as tho, where we are positioned, ILB will be amongst the BPAs on our big board.

                  Wade's scheme may feel that this isn't a need.... IDK.... but we have the young secondary and young pass rushers and now we need the young QB in the middle.... Cunningham is that guy to me....

                  I think if we can steal a Short or Poe or Fairley then we can pass on a DL here....

                  I think an offensive skill guy is an option if a top-10 game-changer falls... but, to me, this is a luxury item fraught with swing-&-miss risk, and DEN is best served keeping their defensive dominant....

                  In other words, this first pick should be Cam or Cunningham!
                  Last edited by fraguela09; 12-26-2016, 11:54 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by fraguela09 View Post
                    I think it's possible Elway trades up to grab Cam.... he might also fall into our laps, and if we feel comfortable settling for Dion Dawkins (OT from temple) or Ryan Ramcyzk (OT, Wisconsin) in the second round we may just wait and hope that happens....

                    To me, outside of a no-doubt about it, step in and dominate from Day-1 OL (like DAL OL studs) I feel the next biggest need is a 3-down, do-it-all ILB (ala Lee & Keuchly)....

                    If Kelce gaining 160 yards didn't prove that.... man...


                    So, this is our year to grab that guy.... our difference slipped from historically great to very good b/c of the Trevathon loss and Marshall injury )along with the Malik loss and Walker injury)....

                    I feel as tho, where we are positioned, ILB will be amongst the BPAs on our big board.

                    Wade's scheme may feel that this isn't a need.... IDK.... but we have the young secondary and young pass rushers and now we need the young QB in the middle.... Cunningham is that guy to me....

                    I think if we can steal a Short or Poe or Fairley then we can pass on a DL here....

                    I think an offensive skill guy is an option if a top-10 game-changer falls... but, to me, this is a luxury item fraught with swing-&-miss risk, and DEN is best served keeping their defensive dominant....

                    In other words, this first pick should be Cam or Cunningham!
                    in arguement brandon marshall was out he is our best coverage lb aqnd he wasn;t out there
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kyousukeneko View Post
                      in arguement brandon marshall was out he is our best coverage lb aqnd he wasn;t out there

                      I understand that but Marshall failed to elevate his level of play this year and was hurt again.... in the 3-4 we need 2 ILB, so even if I believed BM was going to continue to raise his ceiling.... I would still Believe in adding another ILB to the mix.

                      Like last year, having 2 cover ILbs who could stuff the run is a good thing to have.

                      Marshall, Cunningham, Davis, Nelson, and Zaire Anderson would give us a great group of ILBs.

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                      • #12
                        Obviously this is all dependant on what we do in FA, but I am a huge advocate for ILB Jarrad Davis and then coming back into late 1st or top of 2nd for NT Caleb Brantley. I know I'm from Florida and my Florida bias is there, but these guys can ball.

                        I would go 100% OL in FA and grab a DT there to, but then start the draft with these 2 guys.
                        Jacksonville Jaguars Broncomania GM:

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                        • #13
                          I like Cunningham, but Foster is that dude. If we were to target an ILB, I'd Foster as the first option.
                          What's the difference between ignorance and apathy?
                          I don't know and I don't care

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                          • #14
                            Currently, Walter Football Mock has DEN selecting Foster:

                            Denver Broncos: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
                            Given how much they struggled to defend Atlanta's running backs as receiving threats out of the backfield in one of their losses this year, the Broncos should consider an inside linebacker early in the 2017 NFL Draft to properly replace Danny Trevathan. Fortunately for Denver, there are a couple of talented prospects at the position who are expected to be available in this range.

                            Pick change; previously Jarrad Davis, LB

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by fraguela09 View Post
                              Currently, Walter Football Mock has DEN selecting Foster:

                              Denver Broncos: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
                              Given how much they struggled to defend Atlanta's running backs as receiving threats out of the backfield in one of their losses this year, the Broncos should consider an inside linebacker early in the 2017 NFL Draft to properly replace Danny Trevathan. Fortunately for Denver, there are a couple of talented prospects at the position who are expected to be available in this range.

                              Pick change; previously Jarrad Davis, LB
                              But they did have Davis before that! That's who I want on our team.
                              Jacksonville Jaguars Broncomania GM:

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