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Assessing the value in Zachary Carter

The Bengals got a productive lineman capable of playing on the end and interior.

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Towson v Florida Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals went heavy on defense in the 2022 NFL Draft, which included Florida Gators defensive lineman Zachary Carter with the 95th-overall selection.

As a redshirt senior this past season, Carter recorded 31 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, two pass deflections, and one forced fumble. In 2020, he had 35 tackles, nine tackles for loss, five sacks, two pass deflections, and one fumble recovery.

Carter played defensive end and defensive tackle during his time in Gainesville, as his versatility made him attractive to a Bengals franchise that loves having guys who can play multiple positions, especially on the defensive line.

In terms of draft value, Carter was viewed as a reach at this spot. His highest ranking was 115th overall by Todd McShay. Fellow ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. had him ranked 146th.

CBS Sports did not have Carter in their top 150 players, while Pro Football Focus ranked him 203rd.

Arif Hasan’s consensus big board at The Athletic had Carer ranked 131st overall, so it wasn’t a major reach at 95.

In fact, draft guru Joe Goodberry had Carter as the top-ranked interior defensive lineman on the board when the Bengals selected him.

Looking ahead to his rookie season, Carter probably won’t have a big role as long as Trey Hendrickson, Sam Hubbard, DJ Reader and B.J. Hill are all healthy, while guys like Josh Tupou, Tyler Shelvin, Cam Sample and Joseph Ossai will also be fighting for snaps along the defensive line.

For now, the best-case scenario for Carter is he’s able to play 10-20 snaps a game as an interior pass-rusher who could develop into a starter in the coming years.

What do you hope to see from Carter during his rookie campaign? Sound off in the comments section!