As the NFL season winds down, FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL draft scouting reports before the combine in March. Here's a look at Zacch Pickens.
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Zacch Pickens (DT – South Carolina)
6'4" - 305 lbs.
Rotated into the defense for 224 snaps as a freshman, finishing with sixteen tackles, then stepped into a starting role the following year. Snap count has escalated in each season, from 445 as a sophomore to over 600 as a senior. Posted 35-2.5-1.0 in 2020, 38-5.0-4.0 in 2021, and 42-4.0-2.5 this past year.
Four-year contributor and three-year starter with a favorable trajectory. Well-built interior lineman, typically playing the one-technique in the team's even fronts, and lines up directly over the center at times as well. Fires out of his stance low to compete in the leverage battle. Has enough suddenness to threaten gaps out of his stance. Gets good extension to lock out opposing blockers, with solid lower-body strength to anchor at the line. Flashes the ability to dig in, lock out blockers, locate the football, and make a tackle when two-gapping. Shows a strong motor in pursuit, with above-average range for the position. Can occasionally knife through the line and create pressure in the passing game. Actually has some pretty good bend, especially for a player his size. Some ability to sniff out screens developing.
Game doesn't seem to have the polish or sophistication of a three-year starter for a major program. Not the most active with his hands or feet once engaged; tends to stay stuck on blocks, and would really benefit from working on hand technique in particular. Able to dig in at the line but doesn't walk back many opponents with his bull rush. Can struggle to locate the ball when engaged. Gets washed out by double teams. Doesn't seem to have a plan as a pass-rusher on most snaps, leading to him idling around the line of scrimmage; either wins with suddenness at the line or gets stonewalled.
A powerfully-built nose tackle with the lower-body strength to hold the point of attack in the run game and the quickness to threaten gaps on passing downs, but who is still raw from a technical standpoint after three years in the starting lineup. Could eventually work his way into a rotation if he learns to use his hands better and develops some different approaches to rushing the passer, so his draft stock will likely depend on how confident teams are in their ability to coach him up.
Projection: Round 4-5
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