Zak Zinter Scouting Report
By Charlie Campbell
- Tough run blocker
- Can knock defenders backward at the line
- Sustains blocks
- Heavy hands
- Blocks with a nasty demeanor
- Able to control defenders when he latches on them
- Plays with good leverage as a run blocker
- Strong lower body
- Can anchor against bull rushes
- Good length, height, weight for a right guard
- Blocks through the whistle
- Has problems with speed rushers
- Not a great fit for zone
- Lumbers in space
- A little stiffness in hips
- Will bend at the waist at times
- Suffered broken tibia and fibula late in 2023
Under Jim Harbaugh, the Wolverines have featured a nasty running offense year after year. They have been led by talented backs with big, physical blockers up front. Immediately, it was clear that Zinter was a perfect fit in Ann Arbor. He broke into the starting lineup during the course of his freshman season in 2020. After that Zinter was the starting right guard for his remaining three seasons with Michigan. At the end of his fourth season in the rivalry game against Ohio State, Zinter suffered a broken tibia and fibula that ended his year. Zinter is projected to be ready to play during his rookie season in the NFL.
Zinter was a quality pass protector for Michigan across his collegiate career. He has strong hands that rock defenders and often knock them off balance to slow them down. Those strong hands also help him to sustain blocks and prevent second efforts from being effective. However, Zinter faces some limitations for the NFL because he has some tightness and is limited athletically. Pro speed rushers will probably give Zinter problems, and he will have to improve on that for the NFL.
Zinter was a steady run blocker for the Wolverines, and they had a lot of success running behind him. He is strong at the point of attack with heavy hands to rock back defenders. Aided by his large build and developed upper body, Zinter can drive block and get a push. He does have some issues with bending at the waist at times, and that can limit his push in the ground game. Along with that problem, Zinter lumbers in space and is not a guard who is going to move well around the field. Thus, he is a better fit as a power-man blocker rather than a zone-based one.
After some development, Zinter could become a starting right guard in the NFL, where he would be a good fit for a power-man blocking scheme. He could play in a zone scheme, but his style of play is better suited to a man system. For the 2024 NFL Draft, Zinter looks like a second-day prospect. Some team sources had Zinter projected to the third round.
Gabe Jackson. In some ways, Zinter is reminiscent of Jackson. They both are strong right guards who can contribute in the ground game, but have some limitations in pass protection. Jackson was a third-round pick back in 2014, and Zinter could go in the same range during the 2024 NFL Draft. Zinter has the potential to be a similar NFL guard similar to Jackson.