Fresno State Senior
40: 4.70 (estimated)
Has a quick first step that flashes the burst and speed off the edge to turn the corner. Closes quickly on the QB, and shows ability to get the strip and fumble. Shows burst and speed to make plays on the backside pursuit. Shows good speed when working in space. PLays with a good motor.
Doesn't play with great awareness and will overpursue and take poor angles when working in space. Undersized and gets pushed around on the edge. Has difficulty getting off blocks and often struggles when asked to play contain on the edge. Can get blown off the ball in short yardage and gets pushed around by offensive linemen. Hasn't quite mastered hand placement on his bull rush, as well as dipping the shoulder when trying to turn the corner. Has a tendency to try and run around blocks.
Carter is primarily a defensive end for Fresno State, but has some experience playing with his hand off the ground. He's raw, but flashes the tools and potential as an edge rusher to merit development. His brother, David, is also a prospect in this year's draft out of UCLA. He started his career as a linebacker before moving to defensive end midway through his sophomore year. Had his best season as a senior with 55 tackles, 16.5 for loss, 11 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles.
Carter is raw, but he has potential as a pass rusher on the outside. He's not going to be a defensive end at the next level. And he's probably going to have a bit of a longer length-to-impact than other OLB prospects. He needs to improve his technique, awareness, and get better playing the run. But with time and development, he has the potential to be a good starter. Ultimately, I think if he reaches his potential he could be a nice 6-8 sack guy in the right scheme playing primarily as a rush end. He'll take some learning as far as playing the run and working in coverage goes, but I think by his third season he should be ready to contribute as a starter. He'll need to stick early on special teams since he's unlikely to get a ton of reps on defense his first year or two. Otherwise, other guys that can contribute in that realm will pass him by.
Carter would be a project in Atlanta. While he does serve some potential to be a SAM linebacker in the 4-3, he's a ways away before he can be trusted to play in space and be effective vs. the run and pass. More than likely, his value in Atlanta long-term would be as a SAM linebacker on first and second down and then putting his hand on the ground on third downs. But unless he proves to be a good special teams player early on, there doesn't seem to be a lot of value taking him. Other players with less learning curve playing on defense will offer much more immediate value. More than likely as a Falcon, Carter would be inactive and eventually be cut before he is given enough time to develop.
Because he's a bit of a project, teams are probably best waiting until the fourth or fifth round to draft him.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Point of Attack: 2.0
Pass Rush: 3.5
Scouting reports of the linebackers in the 2011 Draft.
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