One of the best players in Vanderbilt history has signed his first NFL contract.
Linebacker Zach Cunningham, the first Commodore to earn unanimous first-team All-America honors and the SEC’s leading tackler last season, signed a 4-year, $4.47 million deal with the Houston Texans on Friday, according to the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain.
The news was reported as former Clemson star QB Deshaun Watson, the franchise’s first-round pick, also signed.
Texans QB Deshaun Watson's 4-year deal worth $13.8 mil, $8.21 signing bonus. ILB Zach Cunningham gets $4.47 mil with $1.39 signing bonus.
— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) May 12, 2017
Some thought Cunningham had a chance to be taken in the first round but he fell to the second, where he was selected by the Texans with the No. 57 overall pick.
Nonetheless, he became just the 13th player in Vandy history to be taken in the first two rounds of the draft since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.
Last season, Cunningham finished with a conference-best 125 tackles to go with 16.5 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles and a blocked kick.
The 6-foot-3, 234-pound Pinson, Ala., native will wear No. 41 in Houston, home to one of the NFL’s best defenses. Last season, the Texans allowed a league-low 301.3 total yards per game.