Seeing Zach’s Score 2017 rookie card on Panini’s redemption site for a really great value cinched it for me, so I decided to go ahead and nab this and 2 other autographs from their warehouse.
After a quietly outstanding rookie season in 2017, Zach settled in at RILB, starting 14 games, and posted his first 100+ tackle campaign for the Texans. In Week 10 against the Browns, he picked off Baker Mayfield and returned the pass 38 yards for a TD. He then followed up his banner 2nd season, by finishing first in the AFC in combined tackles in 2019 with 144. Zach continues to fly under the radar but impress nonetheless. As the Texans and their defense fell apart in 2020, Zach led the NFL in tackles with 164 (106 solo), lodging 3 sacks, 2 pass deflections and a forced fumble from LILB. The team has opted to move forward with Cunningham as they convert to a 4-3 defense in 2021 under new defensive coordinator Lovie Smith.
Zach Cunningham played for the Vanderbilt Commodores from 2014-2016. As the doormat of SEC football, Vanderbilt is not known for its football bloodlines, but Cunningham impressed in his time at the school. With a strong motor, the uncanny ability to always be around the play, and the speed to cover runningbacks and tight ends, Zach recorded 256 total tackles (156 solo/ 100 assists), 36 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 6 passes defended, and 6 forced fumbles over 3 years. Zach lasted well into the second round of the 2017 NFL draft where he was selected by the Houston Texans. The Texans were drafting based on best available player, and draft pundits considered this selection a steal.
Since there was a bevvy of activity on EBay for both the Texans first round pick (Watson) and 3rd round pick (Foreman) at blown up prices, I thought I’d see what the market was dictating for Zach’s rookie card. I really liked the design of this card and sniped out the card at an incredibly cheap price.
Zach finished his rookie NFL season in impressive fashion. Playing in all 16 games he had 90 combined tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 6 pass deflections.
Celebrating the game, the players, the cards, and the autographs for over 25 years.