Know The Name: Zach Sieler

Who thought a guy that signed a 3-year extension in the NFL would live in an RV to focus on the season? Not many people anticipate NFL players to do anything like that, but that’s exactly what Miami Dolphins DT Zach Sieler does. 

Zach Sieler was drafted in the 5th round of the 2018 draft by the Baltimore Ravens. After only playing in two games his rookie year and recording 1 tackle, he was cut a week before the 2019 regular season. Fortunately for the Ravens, they were able to sign him to the practice squad the next day.

He was promoted to the active roster in October but waived a few months later in early December, and claimed by Miami the next day. According to TD Hunter of ATB Ravens, releasing Sieler was “a little bit of a shock that year” as he had shown “a lot of promise.” He says injuries at other positions in the preseason combined with the depth the Ravens had at DL made Sieler expendable.

Fortunately for the Dolphins, they won him off of waivers. In 7 games(1 start) in 2019, he was able to accumulate 11 total tackles, 1 TFL, and 2 QB hits.

In just his 2nd game with Miami, he broke out with 7 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 QB hit, and 1 sack. The Dolphins saw enough from Sieler in his first 3 games to sign him to a 1-year deal that offseason. After a week 10 win versus the Los Angeles Chargers, in which Sieler played 83% of the snaps, the Dolphins signed him to a three-year extension.

He ended the 2020 season with 48 total tackles, 11 TFL, 11 QB hits, and 4 sacks. 9 of those TFL came after the contract extension, which ranked 2nd among all DT’s in that span(Watt and Donald had more).

What doesn’t show up in those stats is the pressures. Sieler had 22 pressures and a 7.6% pressure rate from the interior of the line. In the number of snaps he got, he did quite well.

According to PFF, he was the 41st most efficient pass rusher among 134 interior linemen who had at least 100 pass-rushing attempts. 

One of Sieler’s greatest strengths is run defense. According to an article by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Sieler was the fourth best DT in PFF’s run-stop metric. Plays accounted into this category are those which go as a “loss” for the offense.

For example, if a team gains 1-yard on 3rd&2, the play would count as a loss for the offense in the category. Zach Sieler created these plays on 13.2% of his snaps, which is far above average.

Sieler seriously made his presence felt in the run defense, and for about a 2-month span, lead the league in run stops.

Playing college football at Ferris State slowed Sieler’s development. The team didn’t have a proper strength and training program nor did they have a nutritionist; however, the moment he stepped on the field with the Ravens, his potential was glaring. As Hunter, said, cutting him was a surprise.

One area he struggled in was completing tackles, as he had 5 missed tackles last season. As he continues to develop and learn as a pro, I wouldn’t expect that to be a lingering issue.

Sieler is only 25 and will be 28 when his contract expires. If he continues to progress at the rate he has, the Dolphins may be extending him before that time comes. If they don’t, he could put himself in position for a payday in the spring of 2024. 

Follow Rishi Desai on Twitter for more.

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