Has good power and plays with good pad level. Gets lower in traffic, playing with good balance and does a good job keeping his feet moving after contact. Doesn't shy from contact and will run over the defensive back on the second level, lowering the shoulder and delivering the blow. Has some speed and burst to get to the corner, but does his best work between the tackles. Shows nice vision, able to sidestep defender in the hole and shows some lateral quickness to bounce things outside. Is patient and waits for his blocks. Has pretty good hands and able to adjust to the throw in the air. Shows some ability to cut defender in pass protection.
Doesn't have ideal speed and burst and won't be as effective running outside in the pros. Doesn't always show great vision to find cutback lanes, and will at times just follow his blocks. Tends to chop his feet when changing direction. Will miss some assignments in pass protection.
Carter is a player that the more I saw of him, the more I liked about him. He is probably just a complementary runner at the next level, but he can be a productive one in the right offense. Led the team in rushing as a true freshman with 156 carries for 713 yards (4.6 avg) and 4 touchdowns. Sat out the following year with a dislocated hip. Did little as a sophomore with 23 carries fro 137 yards (6.0 avg). But came back strong as a junior starter in 2009 and has been productive the past two years. Combined for 467 carries for 2254 yards (4.8 avg) and 20 touchdowns the past two years. Also has 28 career receptions.
Carter fits best in a one-cut offense that will want him to run between the tackles. While he has some potentail as a short-yardage runner, he's not going to really shine in that role. But for a team that has a lead back that is a bit undersized like say the Tennessee Titans, he'll be capable in that role. He flashes ability as a third down runner, although that probably won't be his primary role at the next level. But in time, you like the fact that he could be an every down runner. He's not going to wow you with his running ability, but he'll be productive behind a good line. Reminds me of Derrick Ward, who shined behind the strong Giants line, but has been mostly mediocre behind other teams mediocre lines. Carter has the ability to be a No. 2 runner that can reliably get 5-10 carries per game, and then a few years down the road could be a 15-carry guy. He probably won't get a ton of reps early on because he'll need at least a year or two to develop before he can be trusted with a primary role in an offense. But by his third season he should be a valuable depth guy.
Carter has potential to develop in Atlanta as an heir apparent to Turner, because of his power and toughness between the tackles. He doesn't however bring a ton to the table that Snelling already doesn't, but he could at least push Snelling for the role and eventually win it. He's not the guy however that can be a guy that can carry the load and be a 20-25 carry back. He would fit best in Atlanta if the offense evolves into a more pass-heavy attack that will ask Carter to bring balance rather than make the thing go. But he could be a nice backup in Atlanta at the very least long-term with the ability to produce off the bench. His role in Atlanta could be very similar to that of Snelling's is currently.
Carter is a nice No. 2 back for the future, but probably shouldn't go off the board until the late fourth or fifth round since he's more of a depth guy that someone that is going to be a valuable piece in a team's weekly gameplan.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.