We’ll pick up right where we left off yesterday — let’s review the rest of the Bears draft class, stopping only once we reach the players that have yet to log meaningful snaps.
- Overall: Pickens has underwhelmed in the eyes of some, but I can’t help feeling like he’s better described as a player miscast within this defense — at South Carolina, Pickens was a reliable 1-gap run defender with a quick first step that flashed nuanced hand-usage when rushing the passer at the Senior Bowl. He’s a lighter defensive lineman (listed at 300lbs by Chicago) better suited for quick penetration than he for holding up against double teams… but why then have the Bears asked him to be the backup Nose Tackle? It doesn’t make sense, though I continue to hope that one day it will.
- The weight difference between Andrew Billings (listed at 330lbs) and Zacch Pickens (listed at 300lbs) tells the whole story, especially since Billings and Pickens are likely heavier & lighter than their listings respectively. It’s no surprise Pickens is struggling, especially against double-teams, but when he’s allowed to do the job I think he better fits he flashes reps like the Tweet below.
- Where he’s surprised me: His first step was always good in school, but I’ve been surprised at how many plays (~3 come to mind) he’s made in limited action due to his first step alone. Also, we did see Pickens anchor a few times successfully in the preseason — that was a nice surprise. Rooting for him.
- Improvement area: A player like Pickens can always use more refinement with his hands, though he flashed a wonderful long-arm pass rush against Washington that gives me hope for the future. Pickens is often used as the ‘set up man’ within stunts for his teammates, so he doesn’t get nearly as many opportunities as teammates like Dominique Robinson, Rasheem Green, or DeMarcus Walker — I’d love to see him get more pass-rush opportunities before I attempt to grade him further.
#Bears DT Zacch Pickens finally gets a rep at 3T and would you believe it he long-arms his G for a pressure.
Huh. Back to 1Tech I guess. pic.twitter.com/d5g1oEIuxe
— Robert Schmitz (@robertkschmitz) October 10, 2023
- Overall: Roschon looks like a young star. He runs hard, he catches the ball well, and he’s a reliable pass-blocker when picking up blitzes or assisting his defensive linemen. The RB position can be fairly self-evident, so I don’t know how much more there is to say — it’s a shame he’s currently injured, but he should be back soon. And as this offense gets healthier overall, he should get plenty of opportunities to create chunk plays.