RSP Film Room No.6: RB Zach Zenner and DE Shane Ray

Is Zach Zenner a bigger, faster, and more conceptually gifted Donald Brown with elements of Alfred Morris’ game? Can Shane Ray become an every-down contributor in the NFL? Alex Brown and I evaluate. 

I met Alex Brown for the first time at Senior Bowl practices. Brown covers the SEC and Big 12 for Optimum Scouting, who supplies its work to The Sporting News. Alex also wrote a lot of the draft profiles you accessed at This week we spend roughly 75 minutes on two players: South Dakota St. RB Zach Zenner and Missouri DE Shane Ray.

Highlights of our breakdown of Zenner:

  • What makes Zenner’s vision NFL-caliber.
  • How Zenner will surprise scouts.
  • Components of good stand-up pass protection technique.
  • How parts of Zenner’s game compare favorably to Donald Brown and Alfred Morris.

Highlights of our breakdown with Ray:

  • Does Ray project as an every-down prospect or a rotational contributor?
  • How does footwork and hip flexibility factor into his development?
  • What does break-point mean with hand usage for defenders?
  • What are the target points on a ball carrier when it comes to open field tackling?
  • What defensive scheme is a good fit?
  • Comparison and contrast with current NFL players.

I am definitely looking forward to the next visit Brown and I have in this film room. A former linebacker and wide receiver in his play days, Brown and I will surely profile a pass catcher on the next go-round.

For analysis of skill players in this year’s draft class, download the 2014 Rookie Scouting Portfolio – available now. Better yet, if you’re a fantasy owner the 56-page Post-Draft Add-on comes with the 2012 – 2014 RSPs at no additional charge. Best, yet, 10 percent of every sale is donated to Darkness to Light to combat sexual abuse. You can purchase past editions of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio for just $9.95 apiece.

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3 responses to “RSP Film Room No.6: RB Zach Zenner and DE Shane Ray”

  1. I see a young Mike Alstott from Purdue when I watch Zenner. Not just because he is white, but mainly because of his running style and pad level while running.

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