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Washington Redskins 2016 Draft Profiles: Justin Zimmer, DL

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2016 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins.

Justin Zimmer, DL
School: Ferris State | Conference: Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
College Experience: Senior | Age: 23?
Height / Weight: 6-2 / 302 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 6th or 7th Round
NFL Comparison: Aaron Donald

College Statistics

Year School Conf Class Pos G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
2012 Ferris State GLIAC FR DL 7 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2013 Ferris State GLIAC SO DL 11 20 37 57 10.5 7.5 1 20 20 1 4 0 0 0 2
2014 Ferris State GLIAC JR DL 12 31 45 76 12 5.5 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 3
2015 Ferris State GLIAC SR DL 12 28 53 81 26 13 0 0 0 0 5 1 0 0 4

Player Overview

Justin Zimmer has been destroying quarterback lives in the lowly GLIAC in Division II college football. It's hard for Division II guys to get noticed, even for players like Zimmer who have had prolific production their entire collegiate careers. It seemed like Zimmer was the type of guy destined to go unnoticed except by maybe a couple NFL teams. That was until he blew up the NFL Regional Combine in Houston Texas earlier this year. Zimmer posted ridiculous numbers testing better than current fellow draftees as well as established all-pro veterans in the NFL. Of course athletic ability is only part of the story but Zimmer has backed it up with his play dominating Division II opponents. His performance at the regional combine earned him a workout for all 32 NFL teams. 

Zimmer has elite level quickness and burst when rushing off the edge and through the middle. He is as strong as an ox posting 44 reps of 225 via the bench press at his pro day. He shed blocks effortlessly against his competition. He has a great motor and attacks the ball. He has good vision too, he easily snuffs out screens, play action, and read option plays. It's rare for a Regional Combine Player to be drafted but Zimmer looks like a lock as a late rounder.

Strengths

  • Relentless is pursuit has an ideal motor and level of conditioning.
  • Wins with an elite first step and burst both off the edge and in the middle.
  • Attacks the ball and has good awareness either batting the ball down or creating turnover opportunities.
  • Has violent and active hands, disengages blocks with ease and has a nice repertoire of pass rush moves.

Weaknesses

  • The big question mark is how all of his talent will translate from Division II to the NFL level.


Let's see his work: 


How He Would Fit on the Redskins

Zimmers best fit in the NFL likely comes as a 4-3 DT. Similar to Aaron Donald, Zimmer could wreak havoc up the middle in that scheme. I don't think he is prohibited from playing DE in a 3-4 though. His rush ability off the edge is something serious and in our 1-gap system it could be a real asset in the pass rush. Zimmer is one of those players that never quits and I think he will carve out a role for himself on almost any team. The Redskins do need help rushing the passer from the DL position. I advocate for the Skins taking a DL early but I would not have any problem if they circled back in the later part of the draft and took Zimmer. Late round players at almost any position must be able to contribute to special teams and I think Zimmer would be more than willing to help out. From a pure athleticism standpoint alone he is a much sought after commodity in the NFL even if all of his skills don't translate against NFL level competition.