Zach Cunningham
Vanderbilt Commodores lose to the Auburn Tigers 23-16 in NCAA football at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. Photo by Joe Howell

Vanderbilt linebacker Zach Cunningham was a beast this season. The Commodore redshirt junior led the SEC in tackles and constantly showed up at the moments when his team needed him most.

Iconic plays like his game-winning tackle on fourth down against Georgia, his incredible blocked field goal against Auburn grabbed the nations attention. Cunningham was named first team All-American by the Associated Press and ESPN this week. Soon he’ll have to make a decision whether our not to skip his senior season and go pro to the NFL Draft.

NFL Draft analysts think Zach Cunningham could go very high in the draft. He says he hasn’t made up his mind, yet. Based on these projections, Cunningham needs to make the leap.

Zach Cunningham – NFL Mock Drafts

Cunningham’s versatility is what makes him jump off the board at NFL Draft analysts. He has the speed, length and skill to have along NFL career. Unfortunately, he plays at the middle linebacker position that isn’t drafted as high as other defensive spots like pass rusher or cornerback. Even though, Cunningham is viewed as a first-round prospect.
CBS Sports - Rob Rang
CBS Sports – Rob Rang
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
USA Today
USA Today

Matt Miller, Bleacher Report:

25: Houston Texans: Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt

“In every draft class, there are a few players who are perfect fits for NFL teams. Kelvin Benjamin in Carolina and Ezekiel Elliott in Dallas, for example. A perfect fit on defense in this year’s draft is Vanderbilt’s Zach Cunningham playing inside linebacker for the Houston Texans.

Cunningham has the length Romeo Crennel and Mike Vrabel seem to love at linebacker and is a playmaker with eye-popping production for a defense that doesn’t have much NFL talent besides him. He’s been asked to be the man on every down, and he’s doing it in spades.

With players like John Simon and Akeem Dent approaching free agency—and a need for more athleticism at inside linebacker—Cunningham would be picture-perfect in Houston.”