The Five I'm Watching: Part VI (BONUS)
Please enjoy your weekend ... and this fine piece of prose.
- Age: 21
- Class: Senior (one season of eligibility remaining)
- Size: 6-8, approximately 320 pounds
- Previous roles: Starting left tackle
- Theme song: ``Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out," Eric Clapton (many people have performed it)
- Relevant lyric: "When you finally get back up on your feet again, everybody wants to be your old long-lost friend."
THE GOOD: Ziemba is exactly what an NFL scout seeks in a left tackle. He's tall. He's big without being fat. He has relatively quick feet. Years of repetition have given him a strong base of fundamentals. Coaches always have praised his awareness. Ziemba has missed a total of zero games during his three-year career, which demonstrates an ability to play through injury. He is an outstanding run blocker. Ziemba often is overpowering in running situations. He was raised in an Auburn home -- his father is a graduate -- and I've always gotten the sense that he really is playing for the school. It's a difficult thing to quantify, sure, but I can sense it nonetheless.
THE BAD: He is penalized too often for someone of his experience and aptitude. Though his problem isn't as bad as some say, Ziemba has been flagged more more than his fair share of drive-stalling holds and false starts. He said in April that it's a concentration thing -- and something that has become a point of emphasis this offseason. Ziemba used to lean when guarding against the outside pass rush, which led to a rash of missed blocks in 2008, though he seemed to trust his lateral quickness more in 2009. He's probably a little above average as a pass blocker right now. That's a big improvement. It's rare that you see Auburn ask him to pull on a sweep or screen pass.
THE REALITY: He is Auburn's most reliable offensive player and one that cannot be replaced. The Tigers don't have anyone who can step in and play at Ziemba's level. I expect penalty prevalence to fall within the normal range this season. I also expect his pass-block skills to sharpen because of experience, which will make him a first- or second-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He's an undervalued part of the Tigers' enterprise right now.
What do you think? Speak your mind!
Photo credit: Todd Van Emst/Auburn University
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