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September 11, 2022 vs Pittsburgh Steelers

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Round 3 (95): Zach Carter, DL, Florida


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A standout football and basketball player in high school, Zachary Carter held offers from nearly every prominent college football powerhouse in the country. After redshirting in 2017, Carter cracked the Gators’ defensive line rotation in 2018, his role grew in 2019, and he started in his final two seasons. While the Florida defense was a disappointment in 2021, Carter emerged and played his best football. Carter is a versatile defensive lineman that features a balanced skill set against the run and pass. He projects best as a 4-3 defensive end but has plenty of experience playing in the B-gap, which he should get chances to do in the NFL to maximize his ability to shoot gaps and rush from the interior. Carter has good length and plays with active hands, low pads, and thrives in tight quarters. When it comes to areas of concern for Carter entering the NFL, he is more of a linear athlete with modest flexibility. He will need to stay committed to developing his hand technique so that he can soften edges to get off blocks and make plays. Carter has the makings of a quality rotational defensive lineman with inside/outside versatility. 

Ideal Role: Base end that gets chances to reduce inside 

Scheme Fit: 4-3

FILM EVALUATION

Written by Joe Marino 

Games watched: Tennessee (2021), Alabama (2021), Kentucky (2021), FAU (2021)

Best Game Studied: Alabama (2021)

Worst Game Studied: Kentucky (2021)

First Step Explosiveness: Carter has sufficient get-off but he’s not overly explosive. His game is about maximizing his length and playing with power and not as much about sudden bursts. He is still an effective gap-shooter but shouldn’t be expected to run circles around offensive tackles. 

Flexibility: Carter is more of a linear athlete than a player that is going to thrive with change of direction skills and his ability to spring in different directions. He can turn the corner on soft edges but won’t be confused as overly bendy. He has sufficient flexibility for the expected roles he will fill at the next level. 

Hand Counters: Carter’s hands are active and his moves are generally well-timed. He does well to utilize his length and deploy his hands to get off blocks. He still has room for growth when it comes to deconstruction of blocks but the foundation of traits necessary to develop are present. 

Length: Carter has sufficient length which is a big component of his game. He is effective at using his length to play with extension and position himself to disengage. With that said, he can do more in terms of tackling outside of his frame and using his length to affect passing lanes. 

Hand Power: Carter has good pop in his hands and his strikes are firm. Blockers do not easily displace his hands, which speaks not only to his hand power but how effective his timing and placement can be. There are impressive reps where he’s able to establish his hands and clear his pads despite not winning with first contact. 

Run Defending: Carter’s length, functional strength and consistent leverage enable him to be an effective run defender. He can be trusted to set the edge and squeeze gaps. With that said, his modest lateral quickness limits his ability to crash down and pursue from the backside when opportunities are present. 

Effort (Motor): From my exposures to Carter, I never came away with a concern about his effort on any given play. With that said, I didn’t often feel like he was unrelenting in his effort and pursuit of the football. He has commanded a notable percentage of the snaps for the Florida defense over the last two seasons. 

Football IQ: Carter is an experienced player and it shows. He is a sound processor with good play-recognition skills. His low pad level and consistent technique speaks to his commitment to fundamentals. 

Lateral Mobility: Carter is a more linear athlete where his lateral quickness and change of direction skills are only modest. There are reps where he can crash down the line of scrimmage or work toward the sideline in which I came away underwhelmed with his ability to close that distance. He’s best in tight quarters. 

Versatility: Carter is a balanced defender that can rush the passer and play the run. He is versatile by alignment, which Florida has definitely tapped into. He has played in every alignment from the B-gap out. He has appeal as a base end that can reduce inside and play interior gaps. 

Prospect Comparison: Jalyn Holmes (2018 NFL Draft, Minnesota Vikings) 

SCOUT GRADES

TDN Consensus: 75.17/100 (Third Round Value)

https://thedraftnetwork.com/player/zachary-carter/wyjwkbS5zA

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Trapasso:

Grade: C+

Big-body heavy handy rusher with moments of impressive burst/bend. Not a refined pass rusher. Inside-out flexibility. If he plays inside mostly in Cincinnati, I like this more. 

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ESPN:

Pre-Draft Analysis

Carter is a tweener strongside defensive end/3-technique. He's quick with active hands and good length, but he's not an effective counterpuncher at this point. He doesn't have the flexibility or closing speed to regularly get to the quarterback rushing off the edge. He's at his best shooting gaps as a run-defender. He's light for an interior defensive lineman and gets covered up when blockers are able to latch on to his frame. -- Steve Muench

Post-Draft Analysis

After playing primarily defensive end at Florida, Carter is likely to kick inside in Cincinnati. In need of depth along the defensive line, Carter has inside-out versatility that has upside as a pass-rusher and ready made run-defender. -- Jordan Reid

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Yeah Andrew said the same on the twitters:

Carter's first season playing significant snaps at Florida he mainly played 3T (2019): 

73.2 PFF Grade
83.2 Run defense grade
20 pressures with 4 sacks

I thought the Gators had someone on their hands and they did nothing with it but instead bounced him outside.

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8 hours ago, HoosierCat said:

Trapasso:

Grade: C+

Big-body heavy handy rusher with moments of impressive burst/bend. Not a refined pass rusher. Inside-out flexibility. If he plays inside mostly in Cincinnati, I like this more. 

He’s 100% gonna be inside.

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Also, I really like the pick. Maybe because I was so down on Winfrey.

 

i think carter has untapped potential. If they had gotten Winfrey, not sure any growth left.

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Mel’s not a big fan of the pick:

I see defensive tackle Zachary Carter as a backup, not a starter, so the Bengals taking him at No. 95 is a reach. I know they have a need there, but I don't love reaching.

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1 hour ago, HoosierCat said:

Mel’s not a big fan of the pick:

I see defensive tackle Zachary Carter as a backup, not a starter, so the Bengals taking him at No. 95 is a reach. I know they have a need there, but I don't love reaching.

How many end of third round picks project as immediate starters? That’s an odd criticism. There was no one we were gonna pick there who was going to start.

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1 hour ago, Stripes said:

Super Bowl teams don’t tend to draft three new starters to open a draft if you knawmsaying.

right? RIGHT?

 

I mean, what the heck. Carter looks perfect for rotation w/ Hill and appears to have some upside. Looks good to me. 

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4 hours ago, AMPHAR said:

There is 500-700 snaps open.  This guy will be on the field.  

We’ll see him and ossai with more samples this year.  Shaping up to be a serious battle for playing time in the defensive room at all levels.  Love the competition they’ve created 

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The pass rush will receive [hopefully] a boost from at least three new sources, one of which is often forgotten:

Zach Carter
Joseph Ossai
Wyatt Hubert

Hubert might not make the roster, but we don't actually have a clue yet what he can bring to the table. Maybe he brings something good.

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7 minutes ago, GapControl said:

That’s a good point Mel is ignoring 

Mel has to comment on like 200 draft prospects.  He does his best but to come up with something to say, no doubt he ignores a lot of variables.  
 

I still can never watch Mel without thinking about Irwin Mainway of Mainway Toys.  

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