3. The Chicago Bears did not like the production from Zacch Pickens this season
Zacch Pickens was not up to par during his rookie season. It is interesting to note because, between Gervon Dexter and Zacch Pickens, Dexter was the one who labeled more of a project. He had the higher ceiling, but Pickens had the traits that could play right away.
Dexter did take time, and you can see where he has to improve. However, he has now shown that he not only has more upside than Pickens, but his floor is much higher as well. Dexter was able to get on the field early and then continued to get more snaps as the year went on.
As the Chicago Bears saw more of Pickens on the field, they were even more turned off. They knew he would not be a great pass rusher, but he gets almost no push. He was supposed to be better than Dexter as a run defender, and while he can be gap-sound, he struggles to get leverage.
Is the league too big for him, or does a year working on his body mean a much better and stronger season in year two? What the Chicago Bears do with Justin Jones will be telling on their confidence in Pickens. If Jones is back, Pickens will rarely see the field again in 2024. If Jones is gone, they expect a jump.