Photo of Zach Line
Grade
63.7 ?
  • 4.77 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 26 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 30.5 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 111.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 6'0" Height
  • 30 3/4" Arm Length
  • 232LBS. Weight
  • 8 3/4" Hands

Overview

An all-state pick in Michigan as a high school senior, Line not only racked up over 1,700 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns, but also 154 tackles and eight forced fumbles on defense. He also finished third in his wresting weight class in the state championships. Even in Jones’ wide-open spread attack, Line found a role as a true freshman (though he enrolled at SMU a semester early); he started six games and played in every one as a blocking and short-yardage back (49 carries, 189 yards, seven TD). He took a much larger role as a sophomore, starting 12 of 14 games played and churning out 1,494 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. He displayed real toughness by missing one half of football after being hospitalized with a staph infection in his armpit early in the season and then playing the last four contests with a fractured bone in his lower back (95 carries, 522 yards, three scores).



Line was threatening the great Eric Dickerson’s school rushing record of 1,617 yards before missing the final three games of the 2011 season with a torn tendon in his toe. His 1,224 yards and 17 scores earned him a second straight first-team All-Conference USA honor despite the injury. In 2012, as a senior, Line managed to surpass Dickerson in total yardage, and tied him for the most rushing touchdowns in SMU history (47). Line’s senior season saw him carry the ball 277 times for 1,278 yards, and 13 touchdowns. Line was named to the Conference-USA first-team, and also was named the conference’s offensive player of the year.

Analysis

Strengths

Solid north-south runner with the eyes to find creases and the feet to make the quick cut inside to take advantage of open space. Follows offensive linemen on the move, knowing when to burst past them. Arm tackles come up short against his ever-working legs and nice lean, and he gives excellent effort to get an extra yard once wrapped up inside. Not a pure power back; he will burst through the line if the opportunity arises and has enough speed to break off a big run before getting dragged down. Sets up safeties in the open field with a shimmy and cut in either direction. Capable receiver out of the backfield, moves the chains and will make the first man miss at times. His pass protection skills are also solid, as he can anchor against some blitzers and even bringing a punch to defensive tackles to help his linemen – even if he is inconsistent holding his ground against stronger defenders and sustaining.

Weaknesses

Considered a running back ‘tweener of sorts, not quite quick enough to be an elite NFL back but not as strong as most power backs needed in short-yardage and goal-line situations. Best as a straight-ahead or one-cut runner than trying to make people miss, as his stop-start ability is not exceptional. Ball security has been questionable.

NFL Comparison

Brian Leonard

Bottom Line

Line managed to pass Eric Dickerson in all purpose yardage, and he tied him in rushing touchdowns, but he is not at all similar to Dickerson. Line doesn't possess the speed to be a starting running back, or the power to be a short-yardage, situational back. He does have some quickness and vision, but will need to prove that he is capable not only as a pass blocker, but as a run blocker, in order to obtain a roster spot as a hybrid player.
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.
NFL News
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