Zach Cunningham - Texans 2nd round pick

Discussion in 'Houston Texans' started by Dash, Apr 28, 2017.

  1. coachbadlee

    coachbadlee Rookie

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    There's something I noticed about Cunningham. He does a lot of horse-collar tackling. He also sorta has a problem wrapping up on tackles.
     
  2. Yaosthirdleg

    Yaosthirdleg Member

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    He's tall with long arms. His technique can be improved. He didn't start missing tackles in bulk until this last season but even then he still had 125 tackles in the SEC with 16 tfl. He's always around the ball it seems which is something that can't be taught.
     
  3. eric.81

    eric.81 Contributing Member

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    So much this... he has a ton of potential. When he gets some time in an NFL conditioning program and works with Mike Vrabel, his ceiling is through the roof.
     
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  4. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    I think this guy will beast once Crennel and Vrabel coach him up
     
  5. justtxyank

    justtxyank Contributing Member

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    You noticed something that was in every scouting report on the guy.
     
  6. coachbadlee

    coachbadlee Rookie

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    Thanks. I have been getting better at it.
     
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  7. DonkeyMagic

    DonkeyMagic Contributing Member

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    i'm excited to see what he can do. In particular, his range and coverage ability will be a huge asset. I don't put much stock in the bad tackler criticism. I don't care what it looks like, as long as you get the person down, and he did that at a pretty good clip.
     
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  8. Nimo

    Nimo Member

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    http://www.scout.com/nfl/texans/story/1778270-texans-zach-cunningham-knows-the-expectations

    Houston Texans Rookie Mini-Camp Update: Zach Cunningham Knows The Expectations

    Zach Cunningham knows the expectations from the Houston Texans to get on the feild in 2017.

    The Houston Texans took Zach Cunningham from Vanderbilt with their second-round selection and already like what they see from the rangy inside linebacker. Cunningham showed his movement skills during camp in pursuit drills and chasing down the football sideline to sideline, an attribute the defense has not had in the middle for sometime.

    Cunningham, along with the rest of the rookies at camp, has jumped feet first into NFL football 101. He is keeping his nose to the grindstone, trying to soak up as much as he can from him coaches and new teammates.

    “Just pretty much coming together and the team concepts,” Cunningham said of what he is learning. “Getting to start getting to know the people around you, getting to know the players that you’re coming in with and the players that are going to be on the roster.”

    O’Brien went in-depth on what they liked about Cunningham and approves of what he has seen from him during rookie mini-camp.


    “We saw a guy at Vanderbilt that was a productive guy, but with all due respect to Vanderbilt, this is a whole different ball game. So, he’s coming in here. He’s learning our system. He’s a guy that’s athletic. He’s a hardworking guy,” O’Brien commented. “He needs to come in here and go to work just like every other rookie. He’s a good kid – hardworking guy.”

    Cunningham led the SEC in tackles but had 21 missed tackles in 2016 and 34 during the past two seasons for the Commodores. The Texans attribute his missed tackles to the lack of upper body strength and intend to help him correct it.

    “He needs to spend a lot of time in the weight room. He’s got a long way to go, but we see, obviously, potential there. Potential is a dangerous word,” O’Brien said of Cunningham.

    Cunningham acknowledged the clear message sent to him about getting strong and that is what he intends to do.

    “Definitely one of my biggest goals would be, like they talked about, living in the weight room,” Cunningham explained. “That’s definitely what I’m looking forward to.”

    It is clear that the Texans are looking for an impact from Cunningham on defense and special teams. Getting him on the field in year one is a priority for the Texans and getting Cunningham caught up with what the defense is asking him to do will be work ahead for both him and the Texans.
     
  9. Aydge

    Aydge Member

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    100% disagree with the first couple of pages saying this guy was a bad tackler. Not saying his form and upper body strength can't be improved, but as Brett would say he's simply a tackling machine. I think the missed tackle percentage is a stat that's not telling the whole truth on him.

    In baseball, it used to upset me when an outfielder who had great speed would get an error on ball that he just barely missed on a dive, or a jump to the wall, when that ball was clearly out of everyone else's range and the play should never have been expected to be made.

    I think with Zach it's the same thing, a lot of his "missed" tackles came on plays that only a player with great instincts, quickness and long arms would even be able to reach out and get a hand on the guy.
     
  10. houstonstime

    houstonstime Member

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    Nice analogy there. Didn't really think about it that way. Not saying he is perfect either, but I agree, even to miss that many tackles AND be the leader in tackles means this guy is ALWAYS wherever the ball is and that's a good thing.
     
  11. Bobbythegreat

    Bobbythegreat Member

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    Yup and the opposite is true, guys who have no range whatsoever almost never pick up errors because if it's further away than a foot or two, they don't even get close to it. That's why some people fail to realize that Derek Jeter is in many ways the worst defensive short stop to ever play the game.....in fact some even think he was great defensively.

    I'd much rather have a linebacker that will miss some tackles that he's got no business even having a chance to make over a guy that makes impressive looking tackles....but only when they run directly to him.
     
  12. Nimo

    Nimo Member

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    The article I posted mentioned that the reason he missed some of those tackles was because he lacks the upper body strength that typical ILBs have. He said he has been working in the weight room. Hopefully it doesn't take too much from his speed.
     
  13. PhiSlamma15

    PhiSlamma15 Member

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    DEEEP! lol
     
  14. Yaosthirdleg

    Yaosthirdleg Member

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    http://walterfootball.com/ws2017zcunningham.php

    During the 2016 college football season, the most productive and impactful linebacker in the nation was Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham. While Alabama's Reuben Foster had a bigger name and received more awards, Cunningham produced more than Foster did and carried his defense as Foster had tons of NFL talent surrounding him. Cunningham made some huge game-changing plays that led to Vanderbilt pulling off upsets to beat Ole Miss and Georgia. He totaled 125 tackles with 16.5 for a loss, three passes batted and two forced fumbles on the season. Cunningham (6-3, 234) showed nice speed and athleticism in pre-draft workouts. Many were projecting Cunningham to be a first-round pick, but in the 2017 NFL Draft, he slid to the back half of the second round.

    According to sources, Cunningham slid for a few reasons. The first and most important was concern about him having a thin lower body. Some teams felt that Cunningham would have a hard time holding up and staying healthy because of his lean-boned body going against NFL front lines. They thought he could be prone to a lot of annoying, nagging injuries that can come from players trying to add quick weight when they don't have the natural build to do it. Missing tackles was another criticism, but scouts across the league said Cunningham had impressive tape and was a good player. The question was on whether he would translate to the next level.

    In our pre-draft scouting report, one team scout from a franchise in the market for linebacker had this to say about Cunningham, "I worry at his current size and mass holding vs. the run. He has the frame to be 245, so hopefully he can get there. He's so narrow-trunked and thin-legged, just not much growth potential in lower half to indicate a guy who'll ever be an explosive take-on player. His weight is all bone. That being said I like Zach. More of an Eagle front Sam or 3-4 Will linebacker to me as far as maximizing his skill set, reducing the number of blocks taking on offensive linemen for him. He'll handle tight ends and fullbacks fine."

    The Houston Texans ended Cunningham's fall, which was a great landing spot for him. Sources from other teams said that was a perfect fit for Cunningham to pan out in the NFL and overcome some of the concerns. The Texans' 3-4 defense already has one of the best young linebackers in the NFL with Benardrick McKinney. He is a huge, strong and tough linebacker who can take on blocks and free up Cunningham to be the Will - weak side - linebacker. That will reduce the number of blocks that Cunningham will have to take on as McKinney is very skilled at taking on and shedding blocks. That will allow Cunningham to run and chase using his speed and instincts to hunt down ball-carriers.

    Cunningham also is very good in pass coverage, and Houston needed a linebacker who can cover backs out of the backfield as that hurt the team's No. 1 defense last year. Brian Cushing can't cover anymore, while McKinney is not well-suited for that role. Cunningham is, and as a rookie, he can rotate with Cushing. That will protect Cunningham as he can be a platoon player to ease into the NFL while he gains weight and strength for the pro game. Cushing is still decent as a run defender, and Cunningham can replace Cushing in passing situations. In a year then, Houston can move on from Cushing with Cunningham ready to take over. Along with McKinney, the Texans have superstar talent in J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus, who will get the attention from offenses. Other teams feel that Cunningham landed with the perfect team for him to pan out and turn into a difference-maker on one of the best defenses in the NFL.
     
  15. DaGreatest

    DaGreatest Member

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    you have zero idea of what you speak about.
     
  16. coachbadlee

    coachbadlee Rookie

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    This defense has gone beyond #1.
     
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  17. donkeypunch

    donkeypunch Contributing Member

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    Thats what I get from Cunningham as well. WTH are you getting from him? We cant all be wrong and by we I mean me, justxyank and pretty much every pro football evaluator in the industry, but please enlighten with your knowledge of evaluating.
     
  18. Aydge

    Aydge Member

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    Is that good? Need justxyank, donkeypunch and "pretty much every pro football evaluator in the industry" to confirm.
     
  19. Nimo

    Nimo Member

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    Yes. But he wants doing against the Panthers first team. He was still very impressive though.
     
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