We all can agree that this season has been ripe with prospects with perceived character concerns. Outside of Joe Mixon, none fit the mold of “troubled past” and “incredible potential” better than Baylor’s Ishmael Zamora. Despite having been relatively unheard of throughout his career, Zamora has quickly become an incredibly polarizing player within the dynasty and draft communities. In this profile, I look to outline the following: production, athleticism metrics, character concerns, notes from the film, and some thoughts from several big names in the dynasty community.
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2016 Game Log
Statistics from sports-reference.com.
Quickly, you can see Zamora failed to attain a starting role before 2016. This might not be as big a knock as you might assume, as he the market share was largely dominated by fellow incoming rookie, K.D Cannon, and 2016 first-round pick, Corey Coleman.
After sitting the first three games of the 2016 due to suspension, Zamora quickly became a solidified passing option in the Bears Air Raid system. His game log is quite impressive, notching four games with 100+ yards receiving. On the downside, nearly 25% of his career receiving yards and 40% of his touchdowns came on only five receptions. By the looks of his production, he appeared to be a top notch playmaker for the Baylor Bears in 2016.
Measurables and Athleticism
Note: Zamora does not have a Mock Draftable page as he was not invited to the NFL Combine.
Above, you will see why there is so much intrigue surrounding this prospect. Looking at the ORANGE Report’s charting conducted in the annual draft guide by @theFFGhost, Zamora is a physical specimen that has many enthralled by the thought of him mismatched against much smaller opponents.
A former high school state champion at the 110 meter hurdles, he proves to be an uncommon combination of explosive speed and verticality. Despite the incredible straight-line speed, he leaves something left to be desired in his agility. His acceleration is clearly his only blemish on what is a superlative athleticism his profile.
Notes from the Film
- 2016 Baylor vs. Texas
- 2016 Baylor vs. Oklahoma St.
- 2016 Baylor vs. West Virginia
- Highlight cut-up
- His Interview at the Baylor Pro Day
First, Zamora has one of the strongest highlight films I have ever seen, with an ability to climb over cornerbacks and make jaw dropping grabs. Specifically, he is at his best when running the slant against man coverage. Needing a slight build-up for acceleration, he shows to separate quickly from defenders in the wide spacing of the Baylor spread offense on a consistent basis. Based on the film, I agree that Zamora oozes potential and has all the raw talent to become translate to the next level.
While the ceiling for Zamora is incredibly high, his floor appears lower. There are several subtleties to his game that a defender could pick up on. First, he gives a pre-snap tell as to his intention for the play. Specifically, he stands tall and relaxed on the line of scrimmage when the upcoming is not intended for him. In comparison, his body posture will alter when it is: he leans forward and is much more tense. This, as a whole, might not be difficult to change at the next level, but it allows me to peel back a layer of his character. He only looks interested when he is getting the ball.
In addition, I often found Zamora disinterested in both downfield blocking and designed run blocks. I must admit that the misleading Baylor scheme exponentiations this sentiment, however there were several times he stood around watching a team mate fight for yards as he stood by aimlessly unwilling to touch a would be tackler.
As someone who defended Corey Coleman feverously last off-season, Zamora pales in comparison. He does flash incredible abilities, but the consistency leaves a lot to be desired. In the film above, I want you to go to the second-to-last play and watch him block. Was it a lucky block, or does he lack the desire to use his immense skill to attempt that every play? Zamora will only be a star if he wants to put in the work to do so.
“Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done, but didn’t” – Grit by Angela Duckworth
Evaluations by the Best in the Business
“Martavis Bryant is a comparable case for Zamora as he came into the NFL with similar question marks, from a surface-level perspective. Zamora’s act was a singular moment of disturbing and sickening violence, whereas Bryant came with worries regarding his work ethic, and substance abuse issues have haunted him at the next level. Yet, we know that the NFL tends to just file all off-field issues under “character concerns” even if that is both unfair and illogical.” – Matt Harmon, Reception Perception Report
“For good and bad, a nickname that could encompass Zamora’s game is “Hands of Stone.” If he cultivates the best parts of that moniker while reducing the worst parts, Zamora has Pro bowl potential. If he doesn’t, he’ll have a short NFL career with moments of impressive athletic promise.” – Matt Waldman, Rookie Scouting Portfolio
“Zamora has true x-receiver size adjusted athleticism and flashed in a small sample. But like Odell Beckham Jr., Zamora was suppressed by another very good wide receiver; KD Cannon” – Matt Kelley, Player Profiler
“He is very effective at using his size to box defenders out from the ball. His ability to impose his will upon a defense is one of his more interesting attributes. Despite his character issues, I think a team is going to take a chance on him because his upside is just too great to pass up multiple times.” – @theFFGhost, The ORANGE Report
The common sentiment shared by most evaluators is a stark range of outcomes possible for Zamora. Personally, I loved the comparison made by Matt Harmon linking Zamora’s to Martavis Bryant. The comparison in play style, body type, and sheer potential makes for nearly an identical game tape. When it comes down to drafting a prospect similar to Zamora, I think the conversation becomes one about value and the level of risk you are able to infuse into your roster.
In the mid-to-late third round of rookie drafts, I would be willing to take a shot on Zamora without concern. However, his ADP has been steadily increasing over the past few months (current ADP: 29th overall). This trend is likely to decline after the draft, as many project him to fall to the late day three or potentially undrafted in the NFL draft.
I think it will be an incredibly positive sign if a team is willing to spend money on Zamora. As stated earlier, you must be willing to throw away a pick if you decide to invest in the Ishmael Zamora lottery. The potential is there to be the next Martavis Bryant, but he could very well fail to be relevant in a year.
- The Top Five Durable Players by Position: Part Two - September 9, 2017
- The Top Five Durable Players by Position: Part One - September 6, 2017
- What are the Durability and Susceptibility Metrics? - July 16, 2017