Coverage/Zone Defense Skills: Has no experience in coverage having played defensive end in college. He does flash the quickness and agility to learn, but he’ll enter the NFL as a pure-pass rusher. Is very raw in this regard. He’ll enter the league as a two-down player or as a straight-up pass rusher.
Instincts/Recognition: Is a very intelligent player who was pre-law at Fresno State. He will have no trouble handling an NFL playbook.
Pass Rush: A college defensive end who must move to outside linebacker in the NFL, Carter projects well as an outside linebacker for a 3-4 scheme. Developed a full line of pass rushing moves and will be able to implement those at outside linebacker. Does a nice job dropping his shoulder and rotating hips to turn the corner.
Pursuit/Lateral Movement and Agility: A very raw athlete with good effort and pursuit. Has shown very good balance and agility in positioning himself to turn the corner and beat offensive tackles to the pocket. Good hip flexibility- he can get a nice lean going when fighting through tackles if they get a hold of him. Can give up too quickly if the ball is ran away from his side.
Quickness/Explosion: Shows a very quick burst off the snap. Can be explosive at times. Does show good burst off the edge.
Strength/Ability to Shed Blocks: Has a long, lean, muscular frame. Is still slightly undersized, even at outside linebacker, and can struggle to disengage from blocks. He does not have the bulk or strength to disengage from an offensive tackle if engaged.
Versatility: Having played defensive end at Fresno Carter comes to the NFL with some versatility. He doesn’t have the size to stay at end, making a move to outside linebacker the logical choice. He could see time in a two-point stance in obvious passing situations.
Final Word: Most converted defensive ends face the same troubles Carter will see entering the NFL.
He has never played in space before and looked lost during workouts at outside linebacker. Zone coverage is a foreign concept, and it will take time to teach him the instincts most linebackers have developed since high school.
The good news is that Carter is a very intelligent player with a high IQ on and off the field. He’ll quickly soak up the needed muscle memory to drop into coverage- and while he’s learning he can contribute as a pass rusher.
Carter’s raw pass rushing ability makes him an interesting option for the Packers or 49ers in Round 3.