Carolina Panthers 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: Starting over edition

(Adam Cairns/The Columbus Dispatch via IMAGN Content Services) C.J. Stroud
(Adam Cairns/The Columbus Dispatch via IMAGN Content Services) C.J. Stroud /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Zacch Pickens /

Carolina Panthers select Zacch Pickens

  • Defensive Line | South Carolina

Adding to the defensive line is something the Carolina Panthers should contemplate. Derrick Brown looks like the stud he was drafted to be, but Matt Ioannidis is out of contract and the likes of Bravvion Roy, Daviyon Nixon, and Phil Hoskins might be on the outside looking in depending on how new coaches see their progress.

The Panthers have looked towards South Carolina’s program for draft prospects in recent years. If this is a trend that continues despite the absence of Matt Rhule from the decision-making process, then Zacch Pickens is a player to monitor.

Pickens is an outstanding mover for a man his size and has the bulk to cope with bigger, more imposing offensive linemen at the next level. This makes him a solid anchor in the run game, but the player also boasts surprising quickness to close down in short spaces that enhance his overall impact on any given down.

As is normally the case with prospects lower down the pecking order, Pickens has some flaws. Hand placement proves to be his undoing on occasions and the defensive lineman must also refine his pass-rushing moves to stand a better chance of maximizing some obvious skills.

Despite these concerns, Pickens represents a low-risk, high-reward pickup by the Panthers. One that could bear fruit in the long run.

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