clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

DT Zacch Pickens: NFL Draft scouting report

We break down South Carolina DT Zacch Pickens with a scouting report heading into the 2023 NFL Draft.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL Combine
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 02: Defensive lineman Zacch Pickens of South Carolina participates in a drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 02, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

South Carolina defensive tackle Zacch Pickens was taken by the Chicago Bears with the No. 64 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. He is the first pick of the third round and is the second d-lineman taken by the Bears.

Zacch Pickens is among the most athletic defensive tackles in the 2023 NFL Draft. A four-year player at the University of South Carolina, Pickens has great quickness along the D-line and should fit well with any NFL defense looking to control gaps along the line of scrimmage.

In high school, Pickens played with his hair on fire, eventually being named South Carolina’s Gatorade Football Player of the Year in his senior season. For the Gamecocks, Pickens contributed immediately as a true freshman, playing in every game in 2019. The next three years in Columbia would showcase Pickens accumulating 115 total tackles (11.5 TFL), 7.5 QB sacks, four passes defended and two fumble recoveries.

Zacch Pickens: Scouting Report

Pickens’ athleticism and arm length (34 3/8 in.) are two of his best physical attributes, ones that would be above-average at his position in the NFL. With the ability to play nose tackle as well, his flexibility will improve his overall value. Pickens gets ahead by utilizing a lightning-quick first step and seems to always stay in the play by perpetually churning his hands and feet.

However, so much about playing interior D-line is about staying low, strong and stout. Pickens has a tendency to play with higher pad levels, which can leave a player off-balanced. Against bigger, stronger NFL offensive linemen, he’ll need to improve on his discipline and technique to ensure he is not easy ”Pickens.”

Mock Draft landing spots

According to the NFL Mock Draft Database 2023 Consensus Big Board, Pickens is projected as the No. 106 prospect available. Currently, NFL Draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay, Jordan Reid and Matt Miller all have Pickens outside of their Top-5 defensive tackles prospects.

Pickens seems to be a mostly consensus third-rounder. ESPN’s Matt Miller has him headed to the Browns in the third, and CBS’ Ryan Palmer sees the Texans selecting him in the third round, as does The Athletic’s Dane Brugler. However,’s Chad Reuter has him dropping to the Jaguars as late as the sixth round.