Florida DT Zachary Carter headed to Cincinnati Bengals as No. 95 pick in 2022 NFL Draft

Graham Hall
Gator Sports

Florida defensive lineman Zachary Carter was selected Friday night during the third round by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 95th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, which runs through Saturday in Las Vegas. 

Carter is the 133rd defender and 51st defensive linemen drafted from UF, marking the 11th straight draft that a Gator DL was picked, tied for the second longest active streak. The pick also ties Florida for the lead (25 picks) among defensive linemen from SEC schools in the first three rounds from 1967.

UF is second all-time in the SEC with 51 defensive linemen drafted since the modern draft era.

Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo praised Carter to the Cincinnati Enquirer: “There’s no doubt he’s going to bring a sense of urgency to the group. He crosses that white line, he’s a tough guy.”

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After arriving in Gainesville in 2017 as a highly touted freshman from Hillsborough High in Tampa, Carter didn’t see the field and ended up redshirting under former coach Jim McElwain.

In 2018, his redshirt freshman season, Carter appeared in nine games either as a reserve or on special teams. He totaled eight tackles, one tackle-for-loss, two pass breakups and one quarterback hurry, in addition to a blocked field-goal attempt in his collegiate debut. Carter appeared in all 13 games, including two starts in SEC play, the following season, and by the end of the 2019 campaign it was clear Carter was in for a larger role.

Zachary Carter delayed draft entry to play for fifth season

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic wiping out the ensuing spring, Carter’s emergence continued, and he would start in 11 of UF’s 12 contests in the 2020 season. He recorded 36 tackles (13 solo), led the team in sacks with 5.0 and had 9.5 tackles-for-loss during his redshirt junior season.

Rather than enter the NFL Draft, where he could have been selected with a mid-to- late-round selection, Carter opted to return to the Gators for his fifth season, where he started at defensive tackle in all 12 games and recorded 32 tackles (18 solo), 8.0 sacks, 11.0 tackles-for-loss and a forced fumble. 

With Carter’s ability to play multiple positions along the defensive line, the most difficult aspect of the pre-Draft process came in the weight room and in the kitchen. 

“I’m 285 (pounds) right now, so I feel like that a good weight to be flexible at, and I’m just training at that weight, and then maintaining. I wouldn’t say I’m on a strict diet, but I watch what I eat and make sure I’m eating the right things, putting the right things in my body,” Carter said at UF’s Pro Day. “Training-wise, I cross train. I train defensive end, outside. I train inside, so I’m ready for whatever situation I go into.”