2023 NFL Draft

2023 NFL Draft Player Profiles: NC State IOL Chandler Zavala

From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections, and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I will be profiling All-ACC offensive lineman Chandler Zavala.

#64 Chandler Zavala, IOL, North Carolina State (GS) — 6034, 322 lbs.

Shrine Bowl/Combine/Pro Day


Player Ht/Wt Hand Size Arm Length Wingspan
Chandler Zavala 6’3 ½ /322 10 3/8 in 33in 80 5/8 in
40-Yard Dash 10-Yard Dash Short Shuttle 3-Cone
Broad Jump Vertical Bench Press

The Good

— Length and hand size
— Punch timing, strength and hand strength to lock on defenders
— Good awareness on stunts and blitzes
— Strong anchor
— Good strength, leg drive on Power blocks
— Nimble hip flip to position himself on blocks
— Strength to control and sustain run blocks
— Mental processing; recognizing most dangerous defender

The Bad

— Positional flexibility, could only find experience at left guard
— Adequate lateral agility to mirror in Pass Pro
— Doesn’t reset set hands quickly when unable to lock on
— Will bend and reach rather than wait to engage
— Focus when uncovered almost always outside
— Aggressiveness when pulling
— Squaring up defender climbing to second level
— Adequate overall foot speed


— 17 games, 17 starts at North Carolina State
— 23 games, 20 starts at Fairmont State
— 2022 First Team All-ACC
— Missed 7 games in 2021 with back injury
— 6th year senior
— 2022 Shrine Bowl invitee
— Father, Demetrio Zavala, is a chef who is a two-time Chopped champion
— Played just one year of high school football

Tape Breakdown

Chandler Zavala is another player from the Shrine Bowl that I didn’t know a lot about. After watching him in the practices from that event I thought he deserved a deeper look. He is a four-year starter between Division II Fairmont State and North Carolina State with all those starts coming at left guard. Fairmont’s season was canceled in 2020 so he didn’t play and missed seven games in 2021. He has a thick build with a good bubble, good length, and big hands.

As a pass blocker, he plays with a good base and pad level. He has solid timing and some serious power in his punch to stun pass rushers. With very good hand strength he can lock on to defenders until the whistle. Using good core strength along with his hands he can torque defenders to the side. He displays very good awareness on stunts and twist with good timing to pass off and pick up. Blitzing linebackers need to be aware of the consequences when then face him. With his punch he’s able to stop them in their tracks. He has a good anchor to stonewall power rushes.

At Clemson, here are a couple of examples of Zavala (64) versus twists. He will be the left guard in all clips.

At Clemson, here is Zavala handling a couple blitzes from the linebacker.

Vs Wake Forest, an example of his awareness and strength. He engages the defensive tackle but recognizes the blitzer (5) and with jams him with just his right arm to cut off the blitz.

The Wolfpack tried a lot of screens but there were not good overall at execution. He works hard to get outside and can execute a block to help the receiver.

At North Carolina, these were the two most successful screens I saw. He is able to engage the defender and with better block reading by the running back, they could have been more successful.

As a run blocker, he was impressive on Power blocks. He uses good hand placement, leverage, and play strength to tip defenders up on one leg and off of their spot. On down and double team blocks, he gets good push and at the minimum will wall off defenders. On combo blocks, he shows good timing to climb to the second level. He has experience pulling on outside runs and has good mental processing to identify the most dangerous defender. On Zone runs to the outside, he can move players that are in his way and shows good awareness on linebackers trying to cut in behind him. On reach blocks, with initial help from the center, he does a nice job to lock on and flip his hips to cut off the defender. It was impressive for his size.

Vs Florida State, a couple of instances of him being able to flip his hips to wall off defenders. The first one is on a nose guard where he gets a helping hand from the center. The second versus a 2i tech defensive tackle.

Vs Florida State, on this Zone run to his left, he starts out helping the left tackle but with his awareness he recognizes the linebacker attacking and peels back to protect the runner.

Vs Florida State, he shows good sustain and push on a quarterback draw. Then on a combo block, the initial contact pushes the defensive lineman back and then with the help of a slip he folds the defender.

Against the pass, his lateral agility to mirror is adequate. The more depth he gets in his pass set the more space he has to cover which isn’t his strong suit. When he doesn’t initially lock on with his hands once engaged he doesn’t reset his hands quickly. He’ll also use just one hand to guide a defender which could be an issue when facing quick hands. When uncovered he focused much more attention outside than inside but that may be what he was coached to do. As a run blocker, when climbing to the second level quicker linebackers can evade him in space. When pulling he has adequate foot speed and decelerates into contact allowing defenders to slip around him. Overall, his foot speed is adequate and may limit usage in some schemes.

Vs Clemson, his feet get a little narrow and he can’t mirror laterally to his left to stay in front of the rusher.

Vs Wake Forest, he pulls to his right and doesn’t square up the defender and he is able to slip around him.


Overall, Zavala has solid size and length, impressive hand strength, and very good play strength. He can lock on to defenders and they don’t get away. He has very good awareness on stunts and twists as well as when locating the most dangerous defender. While playing with good pad level and core strength he displays a good anchor. In the run game, he can move people off their spot with pure strength, is nimble on reach blocks, and puts himself in good positions. Areas to improve include mirroring pass blockers and resetting his hands. He could be more aggressive on pull blocks and become more effective on second-level and screen blocks.

This dude is strong and locks on to defenders allowing him to sustain his blocks. He stuns players with his hands and moves people in the ground game. His best fit is in a Gap/Power running scheme but can execute in Zone with a little help. In the passing game, he would be most effective using quick and jump sets to get his hands on pass rushers as soon as possible. He seems to have only played left guard so I don’t know if he can play on the right side.

Looking for a player comp I decided on Wyatt Davis who was of similar size, played with power, leverage and good leg drive with some athletic limitations. Pittsburgh will look closely at the offensive line prospects in this draft and left guard may be somewhere they focus with Kevin Dotson at the end of his contract. With Zavala’s strength in the run game and fit as pass blocker using quick/jump sets he could be on their radar. He would be able to challenge for the left guard spot and at least be a backup but lack of positional flexibility could hurt him.

Projection: Early/Mid Day Three – Fifth Round

Depot Draft Grade:  7.0 Backup/ Special Teamer

Games Watched: 2022 – Vs Texas Tech, At Clemson, Vs Florida State, At Wake Forest, At North Carolina

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