Zachary Carter, one of the grittiest, toughest, most reliable Gators in recent memory, has found a new home.
The Cincinnati Bengals selected Carter with the 95th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. You can watch his highlights from Florida here.
Perhaps Carter’s biggest strength is his motor. If you’re a fan of the team that just drafted him reading this, you should know that your franchise just added one of the five or ten hardest-working players I’ve watched at Florida since Tim Tebow. But there’s obviously a lot more to Zachary Carter than the fact that he works hard.
While not the biggest defensive lineman in this year’s draft class, he’s nowhere close to being the smallest, either. And what he lacks in terms of monstrous size, he more than makes up for in terms of sheer speed and quickness. Carter has an evil first step off the snap and developed a knack for ruining opponents’ plays before they ever got started at Florida. SEC opponents were often forced to double-team him in 2021, and even still Carter racked up eight sacks on the season.
The versatility he brings adds another element to his upside. He’s plenty capable of playing in both a 3-4 and a 4-3, equally comfortable lining up from the 3-technique alignment (outside the outside shoulder of an offensive guard) as he is the 5-technique (outside the outside shoulder of an offensive tackle), and has logged notable minutes at Florida both as a true defensive tackle and a pass-rush EDGE. And Carter has demonstrated fluency in the Holy Trinity of pass rush moves- swims, rips, and spins.
But the thing that Bengals fans should be most excited about with Carter is that he still has plenty of room to grow. He still has room to fill out his frame, something that you can rest easy about because every NFL strength staff makes sure that this happens.
The bottom line is that the Bengals got a tremendously talented defensive lineman who can fill a variety of different roles. And Florida’s claim of “DLU” is only going to grow stronger as Zachary Carter goes to work on Sundays.
Best of luck, Zach Attacks. It was a pleasure to cover you at Florida. You’ve already come such a long way- and your journey has only just begun.