The Athletic’s Chris Burke raised some eyebrows this morning courtesy of this bold proclamation of Georgia defender Lorenzo Carter.
Could he really? I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Carter be the beneficiary of a lean EDGE class and have a team get overly anxious to land his services. But should that be a direction a team chooses to go? Below is a look at my personal assessment of Carter, who showcased impressive athleticism and promising growth during his final year with the Bulldogs.
Carter has a high amount of promise, but he still isn’t a finished product. Any early investment in him for the 2018 NFL Draft is a bet by a team that they are able to unlock his athletic potential and develop his anchor and usage of hands to stay clean.
There’s a track record of success here, most notably Danielle Hunter comes to mind with the Minnesota Vikings in recent memory. Hunter entered the league as a physical freak of nature, but required a developmental year before showing flashes of what has become dominating talent.
I would feel much more comfortable with Carter being invested in a similar range (early third round, just as Hunter was drafted 88th overall by Minnesota in 2015). Pushing Carter up into the first round increases the risk and skin in the game for any team who desires to address the rush in such a way.
Carter had impressive growth in 2017, his work with pass rush specialist Chuck Smith over the previous off-season paying large dividends and helping Carter to his best collegiate season. Getting that trend line to point upwards could be the needed development for a pass rush hungry team to talk themselves into Carter.
We won’t have to wait long to find out, the 2018 NFL Draft is next week!
Don’t Forget: My 2018 NFL Draft Prospectus is now available! It is sold in conjunction with Joe Marino’s 2018 Draft Portfolio for $20. That’s 2 Draft Guides; a total of 600 full scouting reports from Joe and myself. Read all that you can expect in this year’s Prospectus as detailed here. The 2018 NFL Draft Prospectus released yesterday and is available for download to active members of the site.