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
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.
- 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.
- The big question mark is how all of his talent will translate from Division II to the NFL level.
Let's see his work:
Justin Zimmer is such a stud. Dominated GVSU and Michigan Tech. Put on a clinic— Paulo Figari (@Paulo_FigariNFL) April 1, 2016
Justin Zimmer's numbers are insane. Better #RAS than Suh, Donald, McCoy, well, everybody. pic.twitter.com/Mg0jcNVZal— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 1, 2016
Re: Justin Zimmer will have a private workout in front of all 32 teams at Michael Johnson performance. https://t.co/aPlLMgSBAH— Josh Zimmer (@JZimmer_NFL) March 29, 2016
I see you Justin Zimmer, all 290 pounds of you. https://t.co/xorWrf2dKu— Wye | #GotsisToIndy (@jwyeNFL) March 29, 2016
Watched Kaufusi and Fanaika and I have to say, give me Justin Zimmer on my DLine over those bigger names. #NFLDraft #DraftTwitter— J.T. Olson (@IcewaterOlson) March 29, 2016
Hello Justin Zimmer. Freak athlete, his pro day numbers are blazing!https://t.co/7cLxWI9ilE— Woot and Wye NFL (@WootandWye) March 29, 2016
Robert Nkemdiche vs. Justin Zimmer. Freakishly similar athletes@DraftDiamonds @MelKiperESPN @McShay13 @MikeMayock pic.twitter.com/PCcQOZMMFL— Trey Stein (@TreyStein3) March 29, 2016
#FerrisState defensive lineman Justin Zimmer put up 44 reps of 225 at his Pro Day!!! #Nasty— NFL Draft Diamonds (@DraftDiamonds) March 28, 2016
@nfldraftnix DL Justin Zimmer from Ferris State blew up my SPARQ database. You can see the full thing here: https://t.co/1nxZiLtRLn— Ethan Young (@NFLDrafter) March 26, 2016
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.