On Day 2 of the NFL Draft, the Bears attempted to bolster their defensive line by signing South Carolina defensive tackle Zacch Pickens.
Pickens played four years for the Gamecocks. There, he recorded 131 total tackles and 7.5 sacks in 43 college games. He is known for his physicality in the running game and his high ceiling as a passing thrower.
According to ESPN’s NFL draft expert Todd McShay, Pickens is the “draft steal” for the Chicago Bears.
“Matt Eberflus’ defense relies on good penetrating 3 technique down the middle, and that’s Pickens. We’re talking about a unit that totaled 20 sacks in 2022, the last in the NFL. And while Pickens doesn’t had just 2.5 sacks last season, his outburst, speed and power suggest he can be more disruptive than his numbers suggest,” McShay wrote.
Pickens will quickly become an important part of the Bears defensive line upon his arrival in Chicago. The Bears had the fewest sacks in the league last season (20) and pressured the quarterback the least of any other NFL team.
It’s not the type of defensive pressure Bears fans are used to seeing. After seasons with Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn, Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman, last year was a particularly tough one to watch.
But Ryan Poles and the Bears are working toward a defensive line that teams are afraid to defend. With Pickens, the Bears grabbed Gervon Dexter in the second round from Florida. They also picked up Andrew Billings in free agency.
McShay thinks Pickens is a step in the right direction to create a formidable unit up front.
“Pickens is a different type of player, suits Chicago well and will be key to that defensive scheme. I think he’ll be an impact starter in no time. Having him in the third round is solid value” , wrote McShay. .
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As Pickens spoke to the media after being drafted, it became clear the Bears have a “type” of player they covet.
The Poles and Matt Eberflus are looking for hungry, mean players who will do anything to find their place on a team and flip the switch on game day. Listening to Pickens speak to the media, it became abundantly clear that he is one of those players.
“I can be one of the best if I check all my boxes,” Pickens told Chicago media in a Zoom call Friday. “If I do everything right and, I know I will, I can be one of the greatest. And I’m not holding it back. I really am. If I check all the boxes and when I check all the boxes , I promise you I’m going to be the best defensive inside tackle. And that’s exactly what I’m going to bring. My best every day.
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