Zach Strief is one big dude. The three-inch difference between him and Jahri Evans truly stands out on tape. Not only is Strief tall in stature, but he also towers over most opponents on the football field. His play is consistently good in technique and dominant at the line.
ProFootball Focus’ stats on him show only one truly bad game—at St. Louis—the now historic game that cost two Saints their starting jobs. After a review of the film, the poor Ram rating is due to his switching from right to left tackle once left tackle Charles Brown was pulled from the field. Other than this game, Strief had stellar play this year.
This was not so in 2012 when he constantly battled injury. Strief’s dissatisfaction with his performance in 2012 is a testament to his character. One might say Strief’s most dominant year was 2013.
In my opinion, he is a player (along with center Brian de la Puente) whom the Saints cannot afford to lose. His consistently good play opens up the playbook for both the run and the pass and arguably benefits the Saints more as a whole than Jimmy Graham does as one player. If the Saints are smart (and I do believe they are), they will franchise tag Graham to save time and money in negotiating with players of Strief’s caliber in order to retain his services. He is the most highly ranked right tackle free agent coming onto the market on many ranking lists.