WEST POINT, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Andre Carter II #34 of the Army Black Knights being blocked during the fourth quarter against the UTSA Roadrunners at Michie Stadium on September 10, 2022 in West Point, New York. (Photo by Edward Diller/Getty Images)
WEST POINT, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Andre Carter II #34 of the Army Black Knights being blocked during the fourth quarter against the UTSA Roadrunners at Michie Stadium on September 10, 2022 in West Point, New York. (Photo by Edward Diller/Getty Images)

Army’s Andre Carter II Set To Go First Round

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Army hasn’t had a player selected in the first-round since 1947, but Andre Carter II has what it takes to end the drought.

Carter is tall, quick, fast, and he has a knack for getting to the quarterback (QB).

Plus, he additionally has a short-area burst when closing.

We can’t forget about his 80-inch wingspan.

There is no question he looks the part, but can he play it?

Who is Carter?

Last season in 2021 big-time collegiate pass rushing names topped the sack charts – – guys like Alabama’s Will Anderson and Michigan’s Aiden Hutchinson.

Anderson led the entire country with 17.5 sacks and Hutchinson checked in with 14.0

Hutchinson ended up going No. 2 overall in this past draft to the Detroit Lions and Anderson is a consensus No. 2 pick overall for this next draft (nflmockdraftdatabase.com).

However, smack dab between Anderson and Hutchinson on last year’s sack leader board was an unknown from Army.

That unknown was Carter who finished 2021 with 15.5 sacks. Pro Football Focus rated him No. 2 in the country with a pass rushing grade of 93.3.

He may have been unknown to many – – but he certainly was well known by the QB’s he faced.

Explosive first step and elite speed

While he may be somewhat of an unknown, there is no question he has the necessary first step and raw speed to bend and win the edge in the National Football League.

That is the thing that stood out most to me about Carter, his speed.

This is the very thing that has made Micah Parsons in Dallas, and it’s the top characteristic that stands out about this Army pass rusher.

3-4 Dream Outside Linebacker

I can see a team like Pittsburgh, Green Bay or New England that features the 3-4 defense (three down defensive linemen and four linebackers) taking a flyer on Carter towards the bottom of the first-round and running with him.

The thing that is seriously intriguing about Carter is not only his knack for being a polished pass rusher, but also his ability to drop into pass coverage.

While Carter lined up a few times with his hand down in the dirt, Army featured him standing up off both edges, and dropped him into zone coverage on a regular basis.

The impressive part was this is not just someone who can drop into a short zone and check that box, this is someone who I saw running with receivers even once deep.

Carter can run, and he has good range.

Level of competition

Part of the evaluation process of a scout is considering the level of competition.

Outside of Carter not playing the run all that well, the most disappointing part of Carter’s season in 2021 was that he was not even more dominant.

Yes, 15.5 sacks is a lot, but I felt he got hung out to dry too often on the perimeter versus low level competition.

#34 Andre Carter II 6-foot-7, 260 pounds

Daniel Kelly’s Grade: First-Round – Early Fall 2022 Report

First-Round Mock Big Board: TBD

Projected by 21.3% of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of October 23, 2022 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com)

Game film reviewed: Wake Forest, Georgia State and Liberty (click to watch games viewed to form this evaluation)

Level of competition: Low

2021 stats: 44 tackles (34 solo, 10 assists), 4 forced fumbles, 2 passes defended, 1 INT, 15.5 sacks

2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report:

Lean, fast and aerodynamic rush edge linebacker who can drop into coverage. Coiled and ready standing up off the edge. Fast first step and gets into the offensive tackle at the point. Decent bull rush power. Polished and showed rip, swim and spin moves. Can dip, bend and glide into the pocket through the back door. Good hand usage. Hung out to dry on the pocket too often. Excels at slipping into inside gap. Constant threat of pressure. Can drop into zones and provide good coverage. Showed he could make run stops unblocked and occasionally fought through a block or came down line of scrimmage to make the tackle. However, did not look all that interested in defending the run. Intriguing prospect.

What to watch for during the 2022 college football season:

  1. Pressure/Sack numbers
  2. Does he get hung out to dry on the perimeter too often?
  3. How did he look versus the run?
  4. Motor?

Carter has the tools to go first-round, but it must translate to the game film in 2022.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated New York Jets and he is the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @firstroundmock.

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