Scouting Report:

Carter has a lot of potential because of his athletic ability but his lack of instincts concerns me.

Positives: Has a great combination of size, strength and athletic ability. Very good athlete and he moves well for a linebacker. He definitely shows some pop as a hitter and can really dislodge a receiver from the ball when he lines the hit up right. Has ability in man coverage because of his speed and quickness and mirrors receivers pretty well for a linebacker. Shows some ability in zone and regularly gets good depth in his drops. Has the potential to be an impact special teamer like he was at North Carolina where he became notorious for blocking punts. Closes well and has good burst off the edge to rush the passer.

Negatives: Not always the most sound tackler because he likes to go for big hits, doesn’t wrap up that well. Doesn’t flip his hips well in coverage and doesn’t have good instincts. He struggles to read and react and doesn’t flow to the ball very well despite his athleticism. He really struggles to shed blocks even against tight ends and that limits his potential in my opinion because without better hand usage he will have a lot of trouble as a strong side linebacker in the NFL. He also struggles to get off blocks when rushing the passer as he really doesn’t have any pass rush moves which limits his potential as a pass rusher.

Overall: Carter is a great athlete but I don’t like the fact that he struggles to read and react and his instincts are not very good. That leads to him getting sucked in against play action and letting tight ends and receivers get behind him in pass coverage. He plays well downhill and when he sees the ball carrier he can go get him thanks to his great athleticism, but without the ability to diagnose what he is seeing and react quickly he will never be a good/great linebacker in the NFL. That hurts his stock in my opinion, but I’m sure some teams will think that they can coach his awareness up and come away with a stud player. I am just not so sure.

Projection: 2nd round. I don’t know how early in the 2nd round he will go, but he should go somewhere in this range. Particularly to a team looking to get faster and more athletic at linebacker. The problem is they will have to sacrifice instincts at the position.

SKILLS
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite

Speed: 4.0
Tackling: 3.5
Coverage: 3.0
Point of Attack: 2.0
Instincts: 2.0
Pass Rush: 2.5

Thanks for reading!

–Tom