NFL Draft Profile: OLB Chris Carter, Fresno State

Chris Carter, OLB, Fresno State:
Measurables: 6'1", 248 lbs, 4.58 40 time

Pros:

  • Good pass rusher, shows nice burst off the edge
  • Productive, 38 TFL in his career, with 19.5 sacks
  • Impressive speed
  • Good in pursuit of ball carriers
  • Has long arms to get in passing lanes and keep blockers away from his body
  • Smart player, gets the most out of his abilities 
  • Raw talent, with a lot of upside
Cons:
  • While athletic, he doesn't show great fluidity standing up
  • Will likely struggle in coverage
  • Only average against the run, when asked to fight through blocks
  • Extremely raw as a linebacker, spent a lot of his college career as an End.
Analysis:

While there are some concerns about his ability in coverage and anchoring against the run, Carter is well worth the risk in the mid-to-late rounds. His initial burst off the snap, and acceleration to the quarterback, aren't things you find in just anyone. Given Carter's speed and natural athletic ability he could develop into a better cover guy, and with some more strength he could be effective against the run as well.

Overall I like Carter's potential and see him developing as an every down OLB within a year or two. Until then he should add value as a situational pass rusher/special teamer. 

Draft Projection:

Carter has a wide range of views out there on him. Some have suggested he should go as high as the 3rd round, while others put him in more like the 6-7th round range. I put him somewhere in between. While there is a chance he could go in the 4th round, my guess is he will me more of a mid-to-late 5th round guy, who could last till the 6th.

Why He Makes Sense For The Redskins:

As it stands now the Redskins don't have much in the way of talent opposite Brian Orakpo. Lorenzo Alexander is returning and seems to be in better shape, but I wouldn't consider him a great starting option. Rob Jackson looked good in limited action at the end of the season, but he is hardly a star player, and really shouldn't be relied upon for next season.

If the Redskins don't add a rush linebacker with their earlier selections, Carter would be an intriguing option with one of their two 5th round picks. Washington needs to improve their pass rush this season, and the best way to do that is improve at OLB. While Carter wouldn't be able to be a starter as a rookie, he can contribute, and could possibly be on track to take over the starting role by year 2. I think he'd be well worth using one of the Redskins two 2nd round picks on. 

Steve Shoup has been a Redskins fan his entire life and dreams of the day they get back to the glory days of his youth. In addition to his regular piece on Hogs Haven, you can find his daily writings at Fanspeak.com.
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