Tag:Chris Carter
Posted on: May 13, 2011 12:22 pm
Edited on: May 17, 2011 3:08 pm
 

Finding the Fits -- Outside Linebacker

Over the last week and a half I have been highlighting a different position each day in an attempt to Find the Fit -- identifying 2011 prospects who are a particularly good schematic fits for the club that selected him. I'll also highlight one player per position who I believe could struggle in his new NFL role. Too often in the past rookies who have struggled in the NFL have done so because they were simply drafted into schemes that didn't fit their individual strengths.

Like at inside linebacker, the traditional 4-3 outside linebacker class of the 2011 draft left a lot to be desired. Many of the collegiate defensive ends asked to make the transition to 3-4 rush linebackers I covered in the defensive end group.

Here are the links for the other positions:
Players are listed alphabetically.

Quality Fits:

Chris Carter, Pittsburgh Steelers:  Considering his burst off the edge, closing speed and production, I was surprised to see Carter slip to No. 162nd pick of the draft. The Steelers, of course, do as good of a job of finding edge rushers as any team in the league. Unlike some of the other DE turned OLBs drafted earlier in 2011, Carter shows enough flexibility to dip around the offensive tackle and close on the quarterback -- the critical trait needed to star as a 3-4 rush linebacker. He led the WAC with 11 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss, earning conference Defensive Player of the Year honors. With stars ahead of him, Carter may struggle to find early playing time. When he gets his opportunity, however, he'll do well.

Mason Foster, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: It remains to be seen where Foster - who played inside and outside for the Huskies -- will be used by the Bucs, which have key free agents in starting middle linebacker Barrett Ruud and outside linebacker Quincy Black. Foster, who finished second to only Boston College superstar Luke Kuechly in tackles last year (163 stops), has the production and experience to step in at either spot. While he's not as athletic as Black, nor the physical thumper inside that Ruud is, Foster has excellent instincts, uses his hands to slip blocks as well as any linebacker in this draft and is a very reliable open field tackler.

Brian Rolle, Philadelphia Eagles:  As I mentioned  yesterday in my writeup for inside linebackers, the Eagles have shown a preference for undersized, athletic linebackers throughout Andy Reid's tenure. In Rolle, they found one of the smallest (5-10, 229) and most athletic in this year's draft. Rolle's instincts, surprising physicality and pure speed (4.53) made him a star at Ohio State on defense and special teams. He'll likely earn his paycheck initially as a special teams demon for the Eagles, but could surprise if given the opportunity for playing time as a weakside coverage linebacker. 

Questionable Fit:

Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs: Because Houston demonstrated the ability to rack up production as an outside linebacker in Georgia's 3-4 scheme, he has been characterized by some as one of the better OLB prospects in this draft. I'm considerably lower on him than many others, however, and have been long before reports of his failed drug test at the Combine. Quite frankly, Houston is more explosive off the edge when he has his hand in the dirt as a traditional 4-3 defensive end. When rushing from the stand-up position, he's shown only moderate burst and flexibility to turn the corner. Furthermore, I question whether he has the work ethic to hone his craft. On paper, Houston was a "steal" in the third round considering his All-SEC pedigree and eye-popping statistics. In reality, Houston could struggle making the adjustment to NFL talent.

Posted on: April 1, 2011 12:46 pm
Edited on: April 1, 2011 1:29 pm
 

Disappointing workout for Clemson DE Bowers

Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, listed by some as a potential candidate to go No. 1 overall, may see his stock slip after a rather disappointing performance during his much-anticipated pro day workout Friday.

Bowers, according to sources on the scene, measured in at 6034 (6-3 1/2) and 276 pounds and was clocked at 4.91 seconds in the 40-yard dash. That time, coming off a hand-held stopwatch from a league scout, would have placed Bowers 21st among the 24 defensive ends tested this year in the event at the scouting combine. Only Oklahoma's Jeremy Beal (5.16), TCU's Wayne Daniels (5.03) and Boise State's Ryan Winterswyk (4.96) were slower when tested in Indianapolis.

To be fair, the 40-yard dash is hardly the end-all, be-all measurement for football players, especially defensive linemen, who will rarely (if ever) be asked to run 40 yards in a straight line on a football field. It is also important to note that Bowers is recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus. The surgery kept Bowers sidelined for the combine agility tests and Clemson's initial pro day on March 10.

Unfortunately for Bowers, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 5-rated player overall, the lack of explosiveness demonstrated in his slow times in the 40-yard dash were also evident in his broad jump and vertical jump. In these events, Bowers tested at 9'2" and 34.5", respectively. These results were better in comparison to other defensive ends tested at the combine, but were characterized by the scout as "average for the position."

Another scout characterized Bowers' workout as a whole as "sluggish."

I've argued in the past that Bowers' eye-popping totals in 2010 (including a nation-leading 15.5 sacks) had been more of a function of an aggressive Clemson defense rather than the speed typically associated with highly productive pass rushers. Bowers, while powerful and possessing good lateral quickness, simply is not a quick-twitch athlete with a high degree of explosiveness. It is a primary reason why league sources characterized Bowers as an "overrated" defensive end in the 2011 draft.

Not surprisingly, considering his game-tape, Bowers was at his best during the shuttle drills. He was particularly fast in the 3-cone drill (6.95), demonstrating his ability to change directions fluidly and the acceleration he used so effectively in closing on quarterbacks last season. Only three defensive ends tested in Indianapolis tested faster in the 3-cone drill this year -- Texas' Sam Acho (6.69 seconds), Fresno State's Chris Carter (6.88) and Wisconsin's J.J. Watt (6.88). Of the three, only Watt (6-6, 290 pounds) is heavier than Bowers.

The fast times in this event, which requires heavy pivoting of the knee and acceleration, provide some evidence that Bowers' knee has healed.

That's good news for Bowers. However, it also limits his ability to pawn off his less-than-explosive measureables as a result of the knee not yet being fully healed. 

Bowers' disappointing workout won't take the place of his dominant junior season in the eyes of scouts. It could, however, lead to a tumble on draft day, especially considering how closely rated Bowers has been in comparison to fellow pass rushers Robert Quinn, Cameron Jordan, Watt and others. 


Posted on: March 14, 2011 2:08 pm
 

Rising Above the Competition

After the 2006 draft, I spoke with a college scouting director about why receiver Marques Colston fell to the seventh round of that year's event. Colston did have surgeries on both shoulders, but had a great week at the East-West Shrine Game and worked out very well at the Combine--I figured he would be a fourth or fifth round selection.

The scout's answer was quite surprising to me: "my GM said, 'I'm not taking a wideout from Hofstra." 

That sort of thinking is wasn't necessarily prevalent throughout the league at that time, and certainly his two 1,000-yard seasons the past two years has made teams more willing to overlook a player's level of competition if they see enough raw talent to select them high in the draft.

As I've often said (and heard said by others): "either a guy can play or he can't play."

Despite some administrators' biases, the first round every draft since at least 1976 included a player from outside the traditional Bowl Championship Series conferences (using current alignments, and including Notre Dame).

Since 2000, 2.6 players from non-BCS schools (including all lower divisions) have snuck into the first, including four in last year's draft: RB Ryan Matthews (Fresno State, #12, San Diego), OG Mike Iupati (Idaho, #17, San Francisco), CB Kyle Wilson (Boise State, #29, New York Jets), DE/OLB Jerry Hughes (TCU, #31, Indianapolis).

This year, however, may more closely resemble the 2009 class, where only one player from the "have-nots" of college football made it into the initial stanza (DE/OLB Larry English, Northern Illinois, #16, San Diego). Even in that year, however, six non-BCS conference prospects were selected in the second round: very close to the 6.3 average for 2001-2010 period.

As for players from outside the Football Bowl Subdivison like Colston, most drafts over the last decade did not include a first-round pick from "small schools" but one or two are picked in the second round.

The addition of TCU to the Big East and Utah to the Pac-10 over the next couple of seasons will change the regularity of intrusion by talented players from lesser-hyped programs in the top two rounds (8.9 average from 2001-2001)--but for now, expect this year's group to hover around the recent average.

I'll be watching for the following prospects to be picked early:

Possible first/easy second round picks:

1. DL Muhammad Wilkerson (Temple)
The junior played well for the Owls, then excelled at the Combine (4.96 40, 27 reps, 4.59 short shuttle). Teams looking for a five-technique in the late first could snap him up.

2. OL Marcus Cannon (TCU)
Cannon could be the surprise first round pick if power-blocking teams like Pittsburgh or Philadelphia feel strongly he fits their system as a guard or tackle--and don't want to wait until the late second to bring him in.

Solid second round picks:

3. WR Jerrel Jernigan (Troy)
Though he measured in a shade under 5-9, 185 pounds, Jernigan's quickness, toughness over the middle, and return ability give him an excellent shot to be a second-round pick.

4. CB Davon House (New Mexico State)
Teamed with Kyle Wilson on the 2009 All-WAC first team, and was named all-conference again in 2010. Though he isn't quite the player Wilson was in college, measuring over six-foot, 200-pounds with a 4.44 40 cemented his spot in the second round.

5. OL Ben Ijalana (Villanova)
If Ijalana were not dealing with a sports hernia, people would be discussing the versatile player (who is more athletic than former UMass Vlad Ducasse, last year's second round pick of the Jets) more frequently as a top 64 selection.

6. DL Kenrick Ellis (Hampton)
Another massive athlete with very good athleticism, Ellis' past may prevent him from going as high as his talent indicates--but 3-4 teams looking for an athletic 340-pounder who could play on the nose and at five-technique should jump on his talent in the mid-to-late second.

Possible second rounders:

7. QB Andy Dalton (TCU)
Dalton's excellent win-loss record and solid character could earn him a spot in the second round, but his lack of size and arm strength could make him available to teams early in the third--not unlike Colt McCoy last spring.

8. CB Brandon Burton (Utah)
Burton did not rip up the Combine, but he has enough size, speed, change of direction ability and toughness to be selected by New England, Pittsburgh or Chicago late in the second.

9. OLB Dontay Moch (Nevada)
We all knew Moch's 4.4 speed would show itself at the Combine, but he will take time to translate to the linebacker position at the next level. Unless Raiders owner Al Davis loves Moch's speed enough to pick him early in the second or the Colts, Seahawks, or another team fine with a 6-1 3/8, 248-pound rush end takes a shot late in the second, teams may wait until the third to see if he can develop.

Could be outside looking in:

10. WR Titus Young (Boise State)
Since the player to which Young is most often compared, Philadelphia Eagles star receiver DeSean Jackson, fell into the second round due to off-field concerns, Young's own issues and slightly-less explosive game could land him in the third.

11. QB Colin Kaepernick (Nevada)
Athleticism and arm strength aren't questions; longish pitcher delivery, need to clean up footwork, and thin frame are. He could sneak into the second round because of the need for QBs, but often fans and media overestimate teams' willingness to use a valued second on a player not likely to be ready to contribute for two or three years.

12. OLB Chris Carter (Fresno State)
His exceptional Combine (4.58 40, 27 reps, 6.88 3-cone) and production for the Bulldogs could make him a late second-round pick. Carter's tape does not portend great consistency, however, so a top 64 slot is no sure thing.

--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Chad Reuter

Posted on: January 22, 2011 1:21 pm
 

5 needing a strong finish in E-W Shrine Game

Every prospect signs up for an all-star game with the dream of stepping up their level of play in front of hundreds of scouts and being pegged by draft analysts as a "riser" or "winner."

The reality is, for every riser there is a faller. For every winner there is a loser.

No doubt you've read my fellow senior analyst Chad Reuter's  detailed practice reports for Monday , Tuesday and Wednesday's scrimmages. You have probably checked out the opinions of other media members in Orlando, as well.

As expected, North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin has proven himself to be the best player in Orlando. Strong performances by USC TE Jordan Cameron, UCLA DT David Carter, Hawaii RB Alex Green and Georgia ILB Akeem Dent have boosted their stock, as well.

Some highly touted prospects have struggled throughout the week of practice. Though the vast majority of scouts have already left Orlando in preparation for the upcoming Senior Bowl, don't be fooled. A strong game can always help a prospect who struggled throughout the week of practice.

Here are the five legitimately draftable prospects most in need of a strong finish at the East-West Shrine Game:

Delaware QB Pat Devlin:
Devlin entered the week of practice as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 3 rated quarterback, but could slip below TCU's Andy Dalton, Iowa's Ricky Stanzi and others if his play doesn't improve. Scouts tell me Devlin has been tentative and hasn't shown the arm-strength they'd hoped.

Boise State S Jeron Johnson: Last year former Boise State Bronco Kyle Wilson proved one of the stars during the Senior Bowl week of practices. The sledding hasn't been quite as smooth this week for his former teammate, Johnson, who has struggled in coverage this week.

Idaho QB Nathan Enderle:
In the 6-5, 233 pound Enderle's case, his problems are exactly the opposite of Devlin's. Enderle has the strongest arm of any quarterback in Orlando this week, but his accuracy and footwork have been off, according to scouts. A couple of "wow" throws by Enderle today and he could greatly help himself.

Fresno State OLB Chris Carter: I've highlighted Carter on numerous occasions this year as one of the better rush linebacker prospects, but scouts getting a look at him this week operating in space (he played defensive end for the Bulldogs) tell me he's struggled with the transition. A sack or two today could help remind scouts of what Carter does well. Strong coverage wouldn't get the attention of the announcers as much, but would help his stock with scouts even more.

Mount Union WR Cecil Shorts III: All-star games are typically an environment in which "small school" wide receivers can really boost their stock. Few can boast Shorts' accomplishments. He's a three-time All-American with 62 receiving touchdowns over his career. Unfortunately, after being listed at 6-2, 210 pounds by Mount Union, Shorts proved just that (5-11, 197 pounds) and has struggled with footwork and drops this week.

This game begins at 4:00 pm today and will be televised on The NFL Network.

For the best in NFL draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com
Posted on: January 17, 2011 2:43 pm
 

East-West Measuring Day provides some highlights

As you'd expect, with the East-West Shrine Game kicking off this weekend, NFLDraftScout.com is in Orlando to catch all of the action.

Senior Analyst Chad Reuter will be checking in with daily practice reports.

First, however, was this morning's weigh-in. A few notable results.

  • Idaho quarterback Nathan Enderle measured in at 6-4 (6042) and 242 pounds. Opinions are mixed with Enderle, but scouts certainly like his frame.
  • Scouts knew that Fresno defensive end Chris Carter would have to make the transition to outside linebacker to be successful in the NFL, but it was reinforced Monday with Carter just barely breaking the 6-1 (6011) mark. Carter weighed in at 245.5 pounds. While the height may be a concern for some, Carter has much longer arms than most his height. His arm length (32 3/4") and wingspan (79 1/8") are comparable to prospects standing up to 6-5.
  • Two of my favorite Diamond in the Rough prospects measured in as scouts had hoped. Former highly touted prep prospect OJ Murdock, who left South Carolina and winded up at Fort Hays State measured in a shade under 5-11 5105) and 194.5 pounds. Murdock pops of tape and could prove one to watch this week as a receiver on the West team. On the East squad is Mount Union's Cecil Shorts, who measured in just under 6-0 at 5117 and a rock-solid 200 pounds. Shorts has often been compared to another former Mount Union standout -- Indianapolis Colts' starting wideout Pierre Garcon.
  • Former North Carolina Tar Heel defensive tackle Marvin Austin - who I highlighted yesterday as an All-star with everything on the line - measured in at 6-2 (6021), 312 pounds.
Chad will be covering much more in his Monday wrap-up article, including more observations from the weigh-in and the teams unique Monday practices.
As always, for the best in NFL draft coverage, check out NFLDraftScout.com .
Posted on: January 8, 2011 4:49 pm
 

East-West Shrine Game posts roster

The East-West Shrine Game, the longest running senior all-star game in the country, has released their 2011 roster.

I've copied their roster below, but encourage you to check out their website and support the Shriners' cause, as well.

Dan Reeves will coach one team. Wade Phillips was slated to coach the other team, though it remains to be seen if he'll keep this position now that he's been hired as Houston's defensive coordinator.

It is an interesting roster, filled with NFL talent. I'm especially excited to see quarterbacks Pat Devlin (Delaware) and Nathan Enderle (Idaho) - two of the more underrated QBs in the 2011 draft -- get their opportunity with better talent surrounding them.

There is other exciting skill position talent in the game, as well, including Syracuse RB Delone Carter, Penn State RB Evan Royster and LSU WR Terrance Toliver.

North Carolina suspended defensive tackle Marvin Austin is another intriguing prospect to watch. In terms of pure talent, he is the elite prospect in this draft.

The 2011 roster features another rarity. Fresno State DE/OLB Chris Carter and UCLA DT David Carter are brothers.

The rosters are listed with the East Team first, West Team following.

Name Pos. College
Kyle Adams TE Purdue
Pierre Allen DE Nebraska
Marvin Austin DT North Carolina
JC Brignone C Mississippi State
Bryant Browning OG Ohio State
Delone Carter RB Syracuse
Akem Dent ILB Georgia
Patrick Devlin QB Delaware
Ricky Dobbs QB Navy
Ryan Donahue P Iowa
Charles Gantt TE Michigan State
Eric Gordon SS Michigan State
Christian Hairston OT Clemson
Jermale Hines SS Ohio State
Douglas Hogue OLB Syracuse
Randall Hunt OG Illinois
Zachary Hurd OG Connecticut
Brian Lainhart FS Kent State
Gregory Lyoyd II ILB Connecticut
Cliff Matthews DE South Carolina
Terrell McClain DT USF
Josh McNary OLB Army
Bruce Miller DE UCF
Jonas Mouton OLB Michigan
Martin Parker DT Richmond
Jah Reid OT UCF
Evan Royster RB Penn State
David Sims SS Iowa State
Greg Smith TE Texas
Tyrod Taylor QB Virginia Tech
Terrence Toliver WR LSU
Terrence Turner WR Indiana
Demarcus Van Dyke CB Miami
Lawrence Wilson ILB Connecticut

Name

Pos.

College
David Arkin OG Missouri State
Brandon Bair DT Oregon
Jordan Cameron TE USC
David Carter DT UCLA
Chris Carter OLB Fresno State
Chris Conte FS California
Ricky Elmore DE Arizona
Nathan Enderle QB Idaho
Adam Grant OT Arizona
Alex Green RB Hawaii
Virgil Green II TE Nevada
Trevor Hankins P Arizona State
Andrew Jackson OG Fresno State
Ben Jacobs ILB Fresno State
Jeron Johnson SS Boise State
Jerrod Johnson QB Texas A&M
Shiloh Keo SS Idaho
Karl Klug DE Iowa
Orie Lemon ILB Oklahoma State
Alex Linnenkohl C Oregon State
Dontay Moch OLB Nevada
Michael Mohamed ILB California
Jonathan Nelson SS Oklahoma
Caleb Schlauderaff OG Utah
Justin Taplin-Ross SS Utah
Vai Taua RB Nevada
Julius Thomas TE Portland State
Brandyn Thompson CB Boise State
Scott Tolzien QB Wisconsin
Winston Venable OLB Boise State
Ryan Whalen WR Stanford
Nate Williams SS Washington
Zachary Williams OG Washington State
Ryan Winterswke DE Boise State


Posted on: December 19, 2010 2:21 pm
 

Stars fail to shine in FBS, FCS upsets

Fresno State pass rusher Chris Carter and Villanova wideout Matt Szczur are well on their way to being NFL draft picks next April. They'll be hoping that scouts focus more on the brilliant careers, rather than the sputtering production each provided in their final games.

Carter, the 2010 WAC Defensive Player of the Year, was held without a tackle in Northern Illinois' dominating 40-17 victory over the Bulldogs yesterday in the Humanitarian Bowl.

Szczur, who had scored a combined five touchdowns on 383 yards as a runner, receiver and Wildcat quarterback over the Wildcats' first two playoff games, was held to only 67 total yards in the loss to Eastern Washington.

It was not surprising to see the 6-2, 240 pound Carter washed out against the run while playing defensive end. As you'd expect for a player of his size, he often was blown off the ball and wasn't able to keep contain, as the Huskies averaged 7.3 yards per rush.

What was a surprise, however, was that Carter was blanked as a pass rusher, as well. The nation's 7th best sack artist (11 on the year), Carter was unable to get clear and make a play despite being 80 pounds lighter than the Huskies' junior right tackle Keith Otis. That fact will concern scouts who like Carter as a potential 3-4 convert and 4-3 SAM linebacker. 

Matt Szczur's impact on the FCS semi-final contest against Eastern Washington was more impressive statistically-speaking than Carter's was, but not by much.

Szczur rushed nine times for 36 yards and caught four passes for 25 yards. He did rush for a touchdown, a one-yard QB sneak that narrowed the Eagles' lead to 20-14 in the second quarter, but only after fumbling the kickoff to instantly kill the previous drive. Szczur's fumble was recovered by EWU and led to an Eagles' touchdown.

I expect both players to enjoy bounce-back performances in any all-star games they're invited to. (The Senior Bowl has already extended Szczur an invitiation).

Unfortunately, while they may be wearing their university's decal on their helmet in that game, the final games for Carter and Szczur for Fresno State and Villanova, respectively, were disappointing.
Posted on: December 18, 2010 11:58 am
 

Who to watch in today's 4 games

There are four college football games today and each one of them offers NFL talent.

In the FCS Semi-final game to determine who will move on and play No. 1 Eastern Washington in the national championship, Georgia Southern travels to Delaware.

The Delaware Blue Hens feature NFLDraftScout.com's No. 3 rated senior quarterback, Pat Devlin . Devlin impressed me last week with his poise, mobility and accuracy. His arm strength has been questioned by scouts I've spoken to and there is no denying that the Blue Hens' spread offense makes it difficult to gauge just how much zip he has. That said, Devlin had enough to thread passes through tight windows and loft deep balls down the seam and sidelines last weekend against New Hampshire.

Devlin, a Penn State transfer, would be a great addition to a senior all-star game, such as the Senior Bowl or East-West Shrine Game.

Besides the FCS playoff game, however, the FBS bowl games, of course, begin today.

In the New Mexico Bowl between BYU and UTEP, I'm most looking forward to scouting Cougar LT Matt Reynolds . Reynolds is only a junior, but he's started three seasons with the Cougars and projects well to the pro game at 6-6 and 322 pounds.

In the Humanitarian Bowl pitting Fresno State against Northern Illinois, I'm most interested in how three FSU Bulldogs perform. Pass rushing phenom Chris Carter has been able to parlay his speed off the edge into the WAC Defensive Player of the Year, but at 6-2, 240, he'll need to show the agility to handle coverage responsibilities as an outside linebacker.

Offensive guard Andrew Jackson has been a standout for the Bulldogs throughout much of his career. His drive-blocking was an underrated component of Chargers' first round pick Ryan Mathews' success last year. Jackson has struggled with foot injuries this year, however. He should be as healthy as he's been all year long for this game.

Finally, the Bulldogs' Ryan Colburn has his final chance to impress in a Bulldog uniform. Colburn, 6-3, 230 pounds, has all of the physical skills scouts look for in a developmental quarterback, but despite his solid numbers (61.8% completion rate for 2,529 yards and a 21-9 TD to INT ratio), he's been prone to critical mistakes in the past. A strong final game, however, could be enough to get him into a senior all-star game and provide just enough intrigue that scouts will want him as a potential UFA.

In a classic case of burying the lead story, Troy's spectacular receiver/returner Jerrel Jernigan is the highest rated prospect in this post and playing today. The 5-09, 190 pounder is NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 rated senior WR and he's already accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl. The playmaker with legitimate 4.3 speed will help Troy take on Ohio in the New Orleans Bowl tonight.

You can read more about the prospects to watch in the upcoming bowl games by clicking this link.

As always, remember that for complete draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com or simply click here.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com