02/29/2012 - 2012 NFL COMBINE FALLERS: Markus Zusevics, OT, Iowa: By tearing his pectoral muscle while performing in the bench press in front of scouts, Zusevics' stock could fall further than any other prospect tested at the Combine. The injury not only ended his Combine experience early, it puts into question his availability to play as a rookie. - Rob Rang/NFLDraftScout & Derek Harper/The Sports Xchange
Zusevics (ZOOZ-uh-vicks) was a top-50 offensive line recruit out of high school, choosing Iowa over Michigan State, Nebraska and Purdue. After redshirting in 2007, he saw very limited action as a reserve redshirt freshman in 2008, playing in just two games. Zusevics was the back-up right tackle in 2009 as a sophomore and played in every game, mostly on special teams. He earned the starting right tackle job in 2010 as a junior, starting all 13 games. Zusevics returned as the starter at right tackle in 2011 as a senior and started 12 games (missed the Insight Bowl due to the flu), earning All-Big Ten Honorable Mention honors.
Zusevics is a self-made lineman, working extremely hard on and off the field to develop his frame and add over 75-pounds since showing up in Iowa City as a 225-pound freshman. He has adequate movement skills and overall strength, but doesn?t stand out in either category. Zusevics comes from a program known for producing hard-nosed, competitive professional linemen and is a prospect I wouldn?t bet against ? has the skill-set to line up at guard or tackle and is the type of player who could develop into a solid back-up and eventual starter in the NFL.
Strengths: Has adequate size and frame with good length. Has done a nice job adding bulk to his frame and flashes functional strength to get a good push in the run game ? very physical at the POA. Has smooth lateral movement skills with good foot quickness ? quick off the snap and sets up in a hurry. Aggressive and extends his arms into contact, delivering a sharp punch. Fundamentally sound and understands blocking angles, using body positioning to his advantage. Plays with good disciplined awareness and intelligence. Feisty and tough and plays with a competitive attitude and looks to finish ? gets the most out of his ability. Has worked very hard off the field to get bigger and presents an attractive and versatile skill-set to pro teams.
Weaknesses: Not an explosive athlete and has limited range ? wasn?t asked to pull a lot in college or block in motion. Will pop upright off the snap and needs to stay balanced ? bad habit of lunging. Needs to work on his technique in pass protection, using more consistent leverage and continuing to move his feet ? too often leans forward with his upper body and neglects his lower body, which limits his ability to mirror. Needs to continue and get stronger to develop a more stout anchor and better body power to hold up against bull rushers at the next level. Still rough around the edges and needs to cut out some of the dumb penalties. Might have to transition inside to guard for the next level, but has no starting experience in college at an interior line position.
NFL Comparison: Jacob Bell, St. Louis Rams
-- Dane Brugler