OL Nick Zakelj Press Conference
OL Nick Zakelj
Press Conference – April 30, 2022
San Francisco 49ers
You look like you play a lot of tackle but you also saw some guard action at the Senior Bowl, which position do you prefer and have the 49ers spoken to you about where they envision you?
“I haven’t really had a lot of specific talks like that. I’ve just kind of been going through their general, team outside zone. I did play tackle in college, so that is obviously where I’m most comfortable at. I think getting those reps at the Senior Bowl at guard and broaden my horizons, getting some flexibility, I think that showed value throughout the whole process. I definitely see myself as more of a guard at the next level.”
I read in a scouting report that you were a no-star high school recruit. Given that, when you first got to Fordham, were you thinking you could be an NFL draft pick? What were your football aspirations?
“Yeah, obviously, I was fairly underrecruited coming out of high school. I only played O-line my senior year of high school because I went through a late growth spurt. So, I was considering schools like Fordham, Columbia, schools like that. As I got to Fordham, obviously you want to go to the NFL, but that wasn’t my purpose for going to Fordham. I went to Fordham to get a great education and play ball at a D1 level. That’s a big reason why I went to Fordham, just because of the great academics there. I was able to get my undergrad and my master’s while I was there, while also achieving my goal of eventually getting to the NFL. I think it all comes through hard work in the end.”
Are you familiar with T Trent Williams and his abilities at left tackle?
“Yeah, I’d say I’m very familiar with Trent Williams because I think that he’s someone who I like to watch the most. I don’t try to take much from his game, because I don’t think there are many guys who are able to do the things he does on the field. With how freaky athletic he is and how technically sound he is, I think that watching him, whether it is in the wide zone scheme, getting out in space, or the one-handed snatches he does on the field. He’s definitely one of the most entertaining players to watch in the NFL, not just O-linemen. The stuff he’s able to do on the field is great.”
How similar is what you guys did at Fordham, zone blocking wise, to what the 49ers do? Do you guys watch head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense?
“Yeah, I’d say it’s fairly similar, with a lot of zone reads in there, too. At Fordham, we didn’t really go as much wide zone and getting out in space with the pull stuff that the Niners like to do. We played a lot of tight zone, maybe even some counter here and there. I definitely think it will be a treat having a seamless transition. I’m excited to get a better grasp on the offense and learn as much as I can.”