In the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals surprised some people when they went with Florida defensive end Zachary Carter. It was mostly surprising because it felt like a reach but clearly, the stripes saw something they liked in the Gator product.
Josh Edwards of CBS Sports did not like the pick, however. In an article he did where he picked each NFL team’s most questionable draft choice, he went with Carter.
Edwards offered this analysis:
"Cincinnati probably felt a little pressure to add a little more depth to that defensive line, but Carter was not good value at that spot. He could add a little bit more weight and become an interior specific player. The Bengals should not be expecting a lot of pass rush."
I do agree that Carter could have been had on Day 3 and that this pick was a bit of a head-scratcher. Still, the Bengals have a plan for Carter and hope that he’ll give them another fierce pass-rusher to add to the unit of Trey Hendrickson, Sam Hubbard, and B.J. Hill.
Was Zachary Carter a questionable pick for the Bengals?
After the selection was made, Paul Dehner of The Athletic tweeted that Carter was considered to be a sixth-round talent, according to Dane Brugler, also of The Athletic. Teams have different grades on guys, but it never felt like Carter was a Day 2 option, yet the stripes made him their third-round draft choice.
Teams “reach” on players all the time. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.
The Bengals have a plan for Carter and if he steps into this defense — one that the team put a major emphasis on in the draft — and gets after the quarterback, fans won’t be complaining at all. The pass-rush might have improved from 2020 to 2021 but the team can’t be content with that and they showed they weren’t.
Time for Zachary Carter to prove the naysayers wrong.