A physical player that plays with good pop and does a good job getting initial leverage off the snap. Plays with good hand placement, and can get inside and lock onto the defender. Does a good job getting position and walling off the defensive tackle to create alleys. Does a nice job finishing his blocks. Shows good leg drive when blocking laterally, and knows how to get position and movement. Is effective when pulling, and able to adjust in space, squaring up defender in the hole. Does a good job locking onto linebackers and defensive backs in space and when working on the second level. Does a nice job sneaking out to the second level and knows how to lock on and drive smaller defender downfield. Does a good job setting up quickly in pass protection and will initiate contact there. Can lock on and win in a short area. Plays with pretty good knee bend and balance in pass protection, able to play with a wide base and adjust to moving targets, staying in front.
Doesn't always show great leg drive to get push as a run blocker. Will lose balance at times at the point of attack. Tends to gear up to deliver his punch as a run blocker, and doesn't always dominate in a short-area. Can be a bit slow to the hole when he's pulling inside. Doesn't show great athleticism when he's moving in space and will struggle to adjust to the oncoming defender at times in space. Doesn't have great footwork and may struggle to match up with quicker interior pass rushers. Doesn't really wow you with his mean streak.
Zeitler is a consistent blocker that really was one of the key pieces for Wisconsin's rushing success this year. He doesn't wow you with his strength or athleticism, but he is fairly consistent when it comes to hitting his assignments, gets push and showed that he can match up well with the better interior defenders he faced this past year. He's a player that should be able to be an effective starter in either a man or zone blocking scheme, and can potentially play on either side of the line despite spending most of his time on the right side at Wisconsin.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/3) vs. UNLV: 3 key blocks, 1 missed block, Downfield: 4/5
(10/1) vs. Nebraska: 3 key blocks, 1 pressure, Pull: 5/5, Screen: 0/1
(12/3) vs. Michigan St: 1 key block, 1 pressure, 0.5 missed blocks, Pull: 3/6, Cut: 1/4, Screen: 0/1
(1/2) vs. Oregon: 1 key block, Downfield: 4/7, Pull: 1/2
2011: 14 GP/14 GS, right guard
2010: 13/9, right guard
2009: 13/13, right guard
Zeitler is a good guard that should be able to come in fairly quickly and be an effective starter. Like his former teammate John Moffitt, he's probably not going to be particularly good as a rookie, but with a year under his belt he should start to improve and work his way into a good starter. I don't see him being an elite guard by any means, but he should be a good starter that certainly has the skill level to be an above average starter. His biggest issue may be pass protection since he lacks top-level athleticism to match up with the top defensive tackles in the league. If he plays left guard, where he should get more help from the center that probably won't be as big an issue. but he's more than capable of holding his own on the right where he'd be stuck on an island. While Wisconsin has a good reputation for producing good NFL linemen, in truth the number of guards is pretty lacking. But I think Zeitler should be a good guard, and I think as he grows into his job there's certainly the possibility he becomes one of the better guards in the league. That's mainly because of his consistency, similar to a player like Josh Sitton. He's the type of player that through consistency and continuity should be able to help improve any offensive line. And because of his versatility to play in a number of schemes, he's a good plug and play guy that you can use as a good building block for years to come. And even if he doesn't develop and reach his full potential, he should be a fairly safe guy. That while he may not be good, he should at least be competent. In that way, while teams may want to upgrade his spot, they'll be comfortable with living with him as their starter because they know he's not a liability.
Zeitler definitely offers the Falcons a potential upgrade at the right guard position. And they can be fairly confident that he can be at least as competent a starter as Justin Blalock. Zeitler is good enough that he could come in right away and compete for the starting job and potentially win it if he was in an open competition with someone like Mike Johnson. He may not immediately be a hit in Atlanta, but Falcons can be fairly confident that he can grow into a good starter. Because of the expectation that the Falcons will employ more zone looks under Dirk Koetter, he's a good fit because he should be an effective man or zone blocker. If Zeitler didn't win the starting job outright as a rookie, he would definitely be in the mix in his second or third year. He's a good enough player that you'd be hard-pressed to see him not finding a way into the lineup by the end of his rookie contract.
Zeitler is a solid Day Two prospect. Because he should make a competent starter as a rookie, teams won't be reaching if they take him in the latter half of the second round. Although from at least an athletic standpoint, he probably compares more favorably with early third round talent.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Pass Blocking: 7.0
Run Blocking: 7.5
Mean Streak: 6.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.