Buffalo Bills 2023 NFL Draft: Prospects and games to watch in Week 9

A.T. Perry, Wake Forest (Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)
A.T. Perry, Wake Forest (Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports) /
3 of 4
Buffalo Bills
Zak Zinter, Michigan (Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports) /

Player #3: Zak Zinter, G Michigan

Michigan State @ #4 Michigan, 7:30PM

With great size and athleticism for a guard, Zinter stands 6’6″, 315lbs. With that sort of height, multiple teams will take Zinter off their draft boards because of their shorter quarterbacks. Luckily for the Bills, Josh Allen has no trouble seeing over what already is a relatively tall offensive line. The only guard under contract for the 2023 season is Ryan Bates meaning the Bills need to at least get someone from the draft in addition to likely free-agent acquisitions.

Zinter is one of the leaders on the offensive line for an incredible rushing attack that is 8th overall in the NCAA (5th if you remove triple-option offenses). Zinter is an excellent mover in space and excels at getting to the second level to make blocks on linebackers. Zinter also has excellent hand placement and can often win on blocks based on his superior technique.

Where Zinter struggles is that he can occasionally get overpowered if he is put on his back foot right off the snap. This shows up more in pass protection than run blocking because as a pass blocker Zinter’s first step is backward most of the time. Zinter’s play strength will be something he needs to improve in order to really be able to succeed as a mover on the inside at the NFL level.

Zinter projects well with the Bills and his proven success in a run-oriented offense could help the Bills improve their biggest weakness on offense. Currently, Zinter does have some holes in his games but he would come to the Bills with some of the most difficult traits for an offensive lineman to learn in his skillset.

Zinter would come to the Bills with really solid technique and could easily challenge to start in his first season. Zinter likely is going to fall between the 3rd-6th round. The reason the gap is so large there is that teams will be worried about Zinter’s functional strength and his Combine testing could really fluctuate his draft stock.