South Carolina defensive lineman Zacch Pickens was in Orchard Park, NY for a top-30 pre-draft visit with the Buffalo Bills, per Jordan Schultz of The Score.
Looking at the types of prospects general manager Brandon Beane and One Bills Drive are engaging with and bringing in for official visits, it appears they’re targeting depth along the defensive line, rather than players who can come in and immediately start. Pickens is currently rated as a Day 2 prospect.
Two big visits for the #Bills today:#Tennessee star WR Jalin Hyatt’s visiting. The Biletnikoff Winner is a projected 1st-round pick.#SouthCarolina DL Zacch Pickens is also in Buffalo. Former 5-star recruit checks in at 6-4, 291-pounds: 4 TFL / 2.5 sacks last year. @theScore— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) April 10, 2023
Drafting for depth in 2023 seems like a wise move, but most of Bills Mafia is keenly aware there isn’t a single interior defender under contract past this coming season. That’s more than a little concerning, and the Bills may need to find players who carry the potential to start. That remains to be seen for Pickens, though the 6’4”, 291-pound d-lineman seems in line physically with defensive tackle Ed Oliver.
Pickens is scheme-versatile with decent size to control the line, eat up blocks, and negate the run. Additionally, he’s athletic enough to be proficient as a pass rusher who can get in the backfield and after the quarterback in a hurry.
In four years with the Gamecocks, Pickens played 1,764 snaps in 47 games, making 135 tackles (16 tackles for loss), seven sacks, 21 quarterback hurries, 14 quarterback hits, five quarterback knockdowns, and 36 quarterback pressures.
At this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, Pickens ran a 4.89-second 40-yard dash, 1.74-second 10-yard split, 7.45-second 3-cone drill, and 4.62-second 20-yard shuttle. He added a 30.5” vertical jump,
Does Zacch Pickens fit the Bills? The team needs to add prospects at the position, either through one of their six selections or after the NFL Draft ends. There’s reason to be encouraged by Pickens’ potential as a pro. He’s a versatile and experienced defensive lineman, which are two traits the Bills’ current regime values. Pickens possesses enough qualities to eventually become a starter in a system that offers scheme versatility.