Scouting Report: Zach Cunningham, LB. Vanderbilt

Pros: Lengthy, fast, and versatile. Has arguably the best closing speed I’ve seen personally while scouting these defensive players. Great eyes and can read and react quickly. Has great instincts and is explosive towards the ball. Ability to shed blockers at the point of attack and does not shy away from having to take on blocks. Rarely over pursues plays. Plays well in pass coverage and very good when it comes to zone as he has a feel for where the receiver is or is going. Has very good feet and hips when in contact with blocks. Delivers a pop when hitting the ball carrier. Always near the line of scrimmage and makes plays. Blows up plays consistently.

Cons: Sometimes plays too high and that leverage can take him out of plays if blocked in that stance. Needs to do a better job wrapping up the tackler rather than aiming high. That could also cause some penalties in the NFL level if he tackles high continuously. Also does arm tackles more than you’d like. Sometimes struggles to hit the ball carrier aggressively if he was blocked, thus leading to him slowing down the ball carrier rather than taking him down.

Overall: Cunningham is a stud and has every chance to be one of the best linebackers in the NFL. He can read offenses, take on blocks, shows intelligence, speed, and aggression. He isn’t the perfect prospect, but if he were on a different team, people would be arguing whether he or Foster are the better prospect. May be better suited as a weak side linebacker, but has also shown the ability to be an inside linebacker. Cunnignham is a very intriguing prospect because he appears to have a high ceiling. Do not be surprised if you see Cunningham rise the boards and go within the top 15.

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