A name not tossed around much regarding the 2017 WR class goes by the name of Ishmael Zamora. The Baylor wideout brings your prototypical size at 6’3”/220, but also has the athleticism to match it. While not a Combine invite for off-field reasons which we’ll touch on, Zamora has posted impressive numbers in athletic testing drills. During his time at Baylor, Zamora was clocked at 4.44 in the 40-yard dash, leaped to a 39” vertical jump and launched to an 132” broad jump. To put that into perspective for you, his 40-time would rank 6th of all wide receiver participants at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, while his vertical jump and broad jump would both rank 4th. The NFL covets big, athletic receivers, and Zamora fits that billing.
Now you may ask why he isn’t receiving the hype of other players at his position. Simple. Many teams have already crossed Zamora off their list after a video surfaced in which he was aggressively abusing his dog with a belt. We’ve seen players in the past (Michael Vick) grow a scarred reputation in the league following incidents similar to this. We just have to hope that Zamora can learn from his mistakes and move on, like Vick. For this reason however, it’s hard to imagine whichever team he ends up on, opening him with open arms. I know I wouldn’t want to enter that locker room as a rookie.
With the animal abuse aside, Zamora is a tremendous NFL prospect. It’s rare to see a prospect with his size, speed and overall athleticism. Likely a Day 3 prospect at this juncture, if he gets his act together, Zamora could prove to be a huge steal that late in the draft. On the flip-side, there is the high possibility he outright crashes and burns. Only time will tell, but an NFL team is sure to take the chance on him.
Name: Ishmael Zamora
Class: SO (RS)
Comparison: Josh Gordon (Cleveland Browns)
Draft Grade: 2nd Round 4th Round (Major off-field incident)
Route Running: Zamora wasn’t asked to run the entire route tree at Baylor, this could cause a rough transition to the next level. Zamora also doesn’t have the short area quickness to win early in his stem when facing quicker and more fluid defensive backs. Once Zamora learns the entire NFL route tree, he will pose a threat to all levels of the football field.
Catching: Natural hands catcher who has the ability to go up and pluck the ball at its highest point. Strong hands with an abnormally large catch radius. Interested to see his hand measurements because he has a high contested catch rate percentage, rarely allows a pass break up.
Speed: Long and deceptively quick strides that really sell the nine route, opening up the curl and other underneath routes. Don’t let the size fool you, he may not beat you with short area quickness, but Zamora can beat you vertically with those long strides.
Effort: Lacks effort when the ball isn’t coming his way. However, to be fair, Baylor receivers have always lacked effort when the ball isn’t coming their way. Zamora shows willingness to block when a designed run or screen is headed to his side of the field. I don’t necessarily have any issues with Zamora’s play speed or effort, the Baylor scheme is pre determined and receivers sometimes go plays without a role.
RAC (Run after catch): Zamora uses his big body as weapon after the catch. Zamora doesn’t shy away from contact and will use his long arms to shuck small defensive backs aside. Zamora also has rare lower body flexibility combined with solid upper body strength that allows him to absorb hits and bounce off defenders.
Positives: Prototypical height and weight for an NFL wide receiver. He utilizes his big frame to create separation on short and immediate routes. Zamora has no issues with running across the middle of the field and will use his long, flexible frame to absorb contact and make the reception. Zamora’s height, weight, speed creates havoc for opposing defenses after the catch, it takes more than one defensive back to drag him to the turf. Zamora high points the football with timing and aggression, jump balls are 80/20 when thrown in Zamora’s vicinity.
Negatives: Like many tall and thick wide receivers, Zamora won’t beat you with his foot quickness. Zamora’s ability to win with size and physicality won’t always transition to the next level where there are bigger, stronger and faster defensive backs. The Baylor offense doesn’t require their wide receivers to run the entire route tree, and often has their wide receivers line up on the same side of the field. Zamora has an awful animal abuse incident and other nagging off-field issues that will result in some teams completely removing him off their draft board.
Exposures: 2016: Texas, Oklahoma, WVU