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Zane Zandier, Tony Poljan push each other to, through Pro Day

Zane Zandier
Zane Zandier at UVA’s Pro Day. Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

Zane Zandier and Tony Poljan spent the past nearly three months in Nashville training together for their NFL Pro Day.

From the sound of it, the two pushed the hell out of each other down there in Music City.

“It was such an awesome experience being able to do that with Tony just because we’re similar mindset guys. You know, just go out there and play every snap every rep as hard as we possibly can. We were pushing each other every day,” said Zandier, an inside linebacker who’s looking like a potential Day 3 pick, worst case, getting a shot to make a team out of camp as a free agent.

Poljan, a monster at tight end at 6’7”, 260, is actually getting some Day 2 love on some mock draft boards after a productive grad-transfer season in 2020 in which he had 38 catches for 411 yards and six TDs.

The old adage is, you can’t teach size – and Poljan, who switched from quarterback to tight end at Central Michigan before transferring to UVA, has size in abundance.

And as a former quarterback, he knows offensive schemes better than most tight ends.

tony poljan
Tony Poljan catching passes at UVA’s Pro Day. Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

“The tight end position is being more utilized nowadays, and we’re really seeing that firsthand,” Poljan said. “People are being so creative with what they’re doing now with how a person 6’5”, 6’6”, 6”7” can be utilized.”

Tight end, indeed, is becoming a glamor position in the NFL, with coordinators looking for ways to disguise what they’re doing, and to get favorable matchups against linebackers and safeties for big guys with good hands.

That so much about their future can hinge on what they do in terms of the bench press, the 40, agility drills and the rest can be a bit nerve-wracking.

“We spent the last three months training for it. For the Pro Day itself, you just go out and do what athletes do,” Poljan said.

“Every single point-oh-one seconds, every inch, every centimeter, every rep matters a lot,” Zandier said. “Training for two and a half months for these specific things, that takes a little bit of the nerves away, I’d say a little bit of the pressure, but like you said, it’s kind of all into one day, where, you know, what, you’ve been working for your entire life.

“Waking up this morning, I was not feeling too nervous, more excited, just because of the preparation I put in and, you know, whatever the numbers are, the numbers are, and if I get an opportunity, I’m going to make the most of it,” Zandier said.

Scouting reports

Tight end Tony Poljan

  • Height/weight: 6’7”, 260 pounds
  • PFF Grade 2020: 71.0
  • Vitals: Had 38 catches on 61 targets (four drops) for 411 yards and six TDs on 353 pass snaps in 2020. Just two catches on 14 contested targets.
  • Outlook: Big (6’7″, 260), but the drops and the awful numbers on contested targets are question marks. Still, maybe slides into Day 2?

Inside linebacker Zane Zandier

  • Height/weight: 6’3”, 228 pounds
  • PFF Grade 2020: 67.6
  • Vitals: Had 31 pressures and two sacks in 120 pass rush snaps; 74 tackles; allowed 21 catches on 24 targets for 174 yards in 247 pass coverage snaps.
  • Outlook: At best a seventh-round pick; likely will have to make a team as an undrafted free agent.

Story by Chris Graham

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