Panthers 7-round 2023 NFL mock draft: Bringing sexy back edition

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Darnell Washington
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Darnell Washington /
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Carolina Panthers
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Zacch Pickens /

Carolina Panthers draft Zacch Pickens

  • Defensive Line | South Carolina Gamecocks

Switching to a 3-4 base scheme should play to the Carolina Panthers’ strengths on defense. However, they could use some alternative options on the defensive line if Brian Burns switches to an outside linebacker role.

Derrick Brown’s skill set looks better suited to the 3-4 defensive end spot. Carolina’s plans are also dependent on whether Matt Ioannidis sticks around or not after some impressive performances as the campaign wore on.

The Panthers look a little light in terms of their nose tackle options. Although the creativity of Ejiro Evero’s system means there will be plenty of chopping and changing based on specific situations.

With that being said, Zacch Pickens could have some value if he’s on the board here. The South Carolina product has the size and burst to make a three-down impact over time and has the potential to be a high-impact rotational piece immediately if he takes on coaching.

The former four-star high school recruit has room to develop from a pass-rushing standpoint. Adding a little more ruthlessness to his game should also help against bigger, more imposing NFL offensive linemen.

Pickens would likely welcome staying in an area he’s called home for a long time now. The Panthers would also be wise to seek the counsel of former college teammate Jaycee Horn before coming to a formal conclusion.