[#FilmWithFive] Prospect Preview: WR Ishmael Zamora

The coolest part of the draft (and the “process” in general), for me, is becoming “attached” to a handful of prospects – favorite players you truly enjoy watching on the field and want to see succeed at the next level – and having them land on your favorite professional football team.

That’s just what happened with Ishmael Zamora, the former Baylor Bears wide receiver turned undrafted free agent turned Oakland Raiders wide receiver.

I’ve been following Ishmael Zamora closely ever since Bruce Feldman dropped his name back in 2014:

We know the type of talent at wide receiver that Art Briles and the Baylor program was injecting into the league. Kendall Wright, Terrance Williams, Josh Gordon, and Corey Coleman are all notable names, for one reason or another. Notable recruits, like KD Cannon, were running to campus. If you heard about another 6’4″, athletic wide receiver turning heads in Waco, you tended to jot their name down.

Then it happened.

At that point, I was all-in. The comparison made too much sense, even if I (selfishly) wanted it to stick more than anything else.

Fast-forward to the 2017 NFL Draft, and the folks over at PFF were onboard as well:

I may have let my fandom get the best of me, but I truly believe that Ishmael Zamora has a chance to be one of the best wide receivers in this class. The sky’s the limit, if he can put it all together.

I had him at five overall, but you could throw Zamora anywhere inside that top 5 or 10 and call it a day. He checks all the boxes physically, which should make for a smooth transition to the next level.

At 6’3″, 220+ with a 40″ vertical and a 4.5 40, simply put, he’s a freak. Fellow alien, David Njoku, for comparison’s sake: 6’4″, 245 with a 37.5″ vertical and 4.64 40 yard dash.

There’s obviously a lot to like about Zamora’s numbers. Generally speaking, numbers (alone) aren’t very good if the film isn’t there. In Ishmael Zamora’s case, we were able to connect dots there as well.

Strong Hands

The former track standout has surprisingly solid hands. He naturally and consistently catches the ball away from his body.

In many aspects, Zamora is a raw player. I understand the hesitation that surrounds him. Hands are not something you need to worry about, however. I will add: per PFF, on 73 “catchable targets” in 2016, he had 10 drops. PFF goes on to call these concentration drops, more than anything. It’s something to note, but also something that I see as correctable moving forward.

Hands over the middle, knowing the hit(s) are coming:

Little “Moss Drill” here. This is where/how a lot of folks think that a player like Mike Williams (Clemson) wins, and why he’s one of the better players in this class. I tend to agree. I also think that Ishmael Zamora wins in similar fashion, with a better athletic profile. I’ll take the athlete nearly every time.

One of my favorite reps in this clip. He stacks the receiver off the line of scrimmage – which is notable, as he’ll get dinged for his ability off the line, and route running in general – and makes a beautiful grab ahead of him. Manages to pick up some YAC, as well.


At the college level, and more notably, in the Big 12 Conference, Ishmael Zamora played like he was bigger, faster, and stronger than everyone else. That was an effective way to go about his business because as it turns out, he normally was (that, and it’s the Big 12). For Zamora, that size will translate. You can see him winning in the same fashion on Sunday’s.

Appreciate the extra effort at the goal line.

Little stutter, trying to work against the corner. Leads to a body grab on otherwise solid coverage. Again, he knows how to leverage his size and win.

Strong cut off the line. Too big to take down on first contact.


If you’re a Baylor wide receiver, you’re going to get criticized for your route running ability. It’s just reality at this point. At Baylor, these players aren’t asked to run very many routes. These players, instead, rely on their athleticism (which as we detailed above, isn’t necessarily a bad thing). This system will invite questions during the draft process; fair questions that need to be asked. NFL.com’s Matt Harmon does a fantastic job detailing and breaking down Ishmael Zamora route-by-route in his #ReceptionPerception series:

By no means is Zamora a technician. That’s just not where he wins. Not yet, at least. There will be a learning curve in the league as a result.

With that said, there definitely is a little nuance to his game at the moment; enough to more than skate-by as he gets his feet wet.


Strong plant/cut, has the inside of the CB. Bad throw.

Wins again off the line, has the inside, good hands and a first down.

Check out the feet.

Head-fake artist?

What’s holding him back?

Route Savvy — Talked about it above. It’s a Baylor thing. It’ll hurt these players to an extent as they enter the NFL, surely, but it can be overemphasized at times.

Drops — Needs to clean up the concentration drops.

Character — We know about the video where he inexcusably beat his dog. As an outsider looking in, it sucks. No two ways around it. I’m also the same outsider that doesn’t know the kid on any level other than what I see on the football field. I’ll leave that where it is, and also add that the Raiders did meet with him, and gave him a “green light” of some sort. Right or wrong, looks like this staff could be calling it a one-off, and moving forward?


I’ll be following closely, as I have been, throughout camp. Assuming he’s in similar (or better) shape, with no additional “off-field” issues, I can’t imagine Ishmael Zamora not competing and pushing someone like Cordarrelle Patterson. In the end, I’m hoping he finds a home on the 53. On paper, and based off the eye-test alone, he’s a big play just waiting to happen. You want to keep those guys around if you can.

Catch me on Twitter: @StillRyanFive