With the No. 64 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears selected South Carolina defensive tackle Zacch Pickens.
Pickens was a 5-star recruit coming out of high school and a three-year starter at the collegiate level. He was an explosive interior defender who played up and down the defensive line for the Gamecocks, and his versatility makes him a good fit for a Bears defensive line that features plenty of talents who can play in several alignments.
The Bears’ defensive tackle group now consists of rookies Pickens and Gervon Dexter, as well as the likes of Justin Jones and Andrew Billings. The way they rotate the interior defenders remains to be seen, and the group still seems to be a work in progress. However, the interior defensive line does seem better than it was in 2022, when it was arguably the biggest need on their roster.
Once Chicago made the pick, I headed to Twitter to put together a thread with a mini scouting report and notable clips regarding Pickens.
THREAD: The #Bears are rolling the dice on big-time upside with South Carolina DL Zacch Pickens at No. 64.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) April 29, 2023
Pickens brings serious length and good athleticism to the table as a defensive tackle.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) April 29, 2023
He fits the physical mold of an Eberflus 3-technique very well, so I’m far from stunned they loved him here. #Bears pic.twitter.com/cNCeWZFsM5
Pickens offers impressive sheer speed and power as a DT, and his pure physical talent can make him tough to block.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) April 29, 2023
He bursts well off the snap and has a strong anchor needed to eat gaps against the run, as well as create penetration. #Bears pic.twitter.com/33P7G3aSh6
Pickens is a versatile defensive lineman who can rush 3-tech, 1-tech, nose tackle, 4-tech and 5-tech.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) April 29, 2023
His sheer length and grip strength allows him to dominate blockers when his technique is down right. #Bears pic.twitter.com/mc2ko2Q7G5
Here’s another rep against the run for Pickens. Quick off the snap with heavy hands needed to clear the block and free himself up.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) April 29, 2023
The upside is there with him, for sure. #Bears pic.twitter.com/XfVv9TVf6Q
Here’s Zacch Pickens’ #RAS card. Ran very well, and his arm length and hand size measurements really stand out.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) April 29, 2023
The #Bears have a moldable DL on their hands with some very good athletic potential going forward. pic.twitter.com/GciBiVTLxL
I had an early Round 4 on Zacch Pickens because of high pad level and inconsistent hand usage.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) April 29, 2023
Though taking him this high relies a lot on upside, the #Bears are betting on a super athlete with tremendous tools. High ceiling with him at the next level.