Texas Christian Senior
Aggressive linebacker that does his best work when he's attacking upfield. Has good instincts and nose for the ball, able to sniff out screens and inside runs. Willing to take on the lead blocker in the hole and can win against the fullback. Consistently attacks the ballcarrier in the hole and shows some pop as a tackler. Has good closing burst on the ball in pursuit and in space. A sound, wrap tackler and breaks down well at the point of attack and will make the stop in the open field. Shows some awareness in coverage when he can keep things in front of him. Flashes some ability as a blitzer due to his burst upfield and straight-line speed.
An undersized tackler that struggles to bring down bigger backs and will miss stops from time to time. Can struggle at times at the point of attack when bigger blockers are able to get at him. Occasionally takes some bad angles when working in space. Lacks ideal awareness and not that experienced dropping into coverage. When his back is to the ball, he can get into trouble in coverage. Doesn't have great hips and struggles to close at times out of his breaks. Doesn't play with balance when asked to change direction, stumbling too often out of his breaks and when forced to shift his weight when transitioning to move forward or laterally.
Carder is a productive inside linebacker in TCU's defense and does his best work when he's allowed to get upfield and defend the inside run. He is a good pursuit player, but not great when you get him outside the hashmarks. And in coverage, he flashes potential, but he's still inexperienced because of how limited he was used there. When TCU played spread offenses, he struggled at times in coverage. But Carder is a player that projects well as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 as well as playing outside in a 4-3.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/2) vs. Baylor: 2 stuffs
(10/8) vs. San Diego St.: 1 TFL, 2 stuffs, 1 PD, 3 missed tackles; 3 targets, 1 rec., 8 yds (2.7 YPA)
(11/12) at Boise St.: 0.5 TFL, 3 stuffs, 2 missed tackles; 4 targets, 4 rec., 37 yds (9.3 YPA)
(12/21) vs. Louisiana Tech: 0.5 TFL, 0.5 stuffs, 1 pressure, 1 PD, 1 key blocked; 3 targets, 1 rec., 5 yds (1.7 YPA)
2011: 13 GP/13 GS, 70 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 0 sacks, 2 INT, 3 PD, 0 FF, 0 FR
Carder is a player that misses some tackles because he's not the biggest linebacker, but he's a sound tackler so that one believes that if he can get bigger and stronger by bulking up to around 245 pounds, his issues as a tackler won't be that concerning. He is a player that a couple of years from now could be a really solid weakside linebacker in either a 3-4 or 4-3. The player he reminds me of is a lesser version of Chad Greenway. Like Greenway, he's probably not going to be a great coverage linebacker, but a solid, rangy run defender. But unlike Greenway, Carder is not likely to come in and impact right away. But he has the potential to be a good complementary with a year or two of development, especially adding strength and getting more comfortable working in coverage. Carder is probably best projecting to the ILB spot in a 3-4 immediately. If he plays beside a good MLB, he can be a solid complement because of his willingness to take on the blockers and free up his teammate in the traditional TED role in the 3-4. He also projects to potentially be able to play some MIKE down the road in a 4-3 as well, although in that role he'll probably be comparable to Keith Brooking as less than ideal. If he has the beef upfront to keep blockers off him, he can be a really solid player. In the end, I expect Carder to be a solid starter, although he's probably not the type of guy that is going to be considered one of the top players at his position, he can be a solid starter in a variety of schemes.
Carder projects best as a WILL linebacker in a 4-3 scheme. While he could play the MIKE spot as well, he is not really a good option to potentially replace Curtis Lofton, especially not right away if Lofton were to sign elsewhere. Instead, Carder would primarily be a reserve behind Weatherspoon. He might make a decent SAM linebacker down the road if he can continue to get bigger and stronger. He won't be great there, but offers enough potential that with a year or two's development, he could potentially be an upgrade over Nicholas. Mainly because his instincts are a little better than Nicholas and he's probably a more sound tackler. And while he does have the upside to be a better coverage guy if he can develop there he's not really going to be a guy that you want going up against the better TEs in the NFC South such as Jimmy Graham or Greg Olsen. He would be at the very least a very good backup at all three spots for the Falcons, with some potential to be a decent to good complementary starter down the road for the Falcons.
For a 3-4 team, Carder is a solid developmental starter. He can also be the same in a 4-3 as an outside linebacker. He could go as high as the third round, but you'd be hard-pressed to take him before that because he's not likely to come in right away and be a capable starter.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Point of Attack: 5.0
Pass Rush: 4.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.