If you watched any of the 2017 College Football Championship Game then you know just as well as the next person how athletic that Georgia Bulldogs defense was. Their offense is impressive but it was the speed and athleticism on the defensive side of the ball that kept them in it early and throughout the game. Linebacker Roquan Smith is the big name that comes from that defense, but the forgotten hero is Lorenzo Carter.
His senior year at Georgia was solid as he tallied 61 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, and a team-high 3 forced fumbles.
His performance at the NFL Combine was impressive - the only downside being that it seems that he is in a group of really impressive defensive linemen and linebackers. If it weren’t for that, I would imagine that he would be shooting up draft boards - a sentiment that now, based on his pro day performance, may becoming a reality.
Weight: 243 lbs.
40 yard dash: 4.50 seconds
Vertical jump: 36.0”
Broad jump: 130.0”
His biggest assets are his speed and athleticism. In college his best game was probably this one against Notre Dame - it was that game that solidified the fact that he is a freak-athlete with loads of potential. He showed off his skillset in terms of run defending, rushing the passer, and dropping back into coverage.
Carter’s athleticism, more often than not, created mismatches for him on the edge. As you can see below he is able to win with his speed and flexibility which, in turn, helps disrupt the rhythm of the offense:
Lorenzo Carter (6045, 243lbs) is a freak athlete... he can really bend that corner. pic.twitter.com/wMOtmWiGBt— Jake (@SeedsofJake) January 15, 2018
As previously mentioned, Lorenzo Carter is definitely able to defend against the run, as evidenced by this play where he is able to shed a block and strip the runner of the ball:
The vertical jump is often overlooked but, at least in Carter’s case, it’s another asset added to his arsenal. With plus-jumping abilities, Carter could feasibly be utilized on special teams in terms of blocking field goals (along with opportunities on defense to disrupt any opposing quarterback’s throwing lanes).
Lorenzo Carter has upside but there is still room for his game to grow. Detractors will argue that his weaknesses are too significant to warrant him being drafted anytime sooner than the middle of the second round; things like having slow hands and a gangly frame are things that can be worked on at the next level.
As previously mentioned, Lorenzo Carter went through some drills at the Georgia Pro Day in Athens on Wednesday — on hand for that, most notably, was New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
It seemed that he was working closely with the linebackers, which leads many to believe that the Patriots may be looking to add someone to their linebacking corps, someone who may eventually be able to fill a Jamie Collins-esque role on the defense.
Roquan Smith, Reggie Carter, Davin Bellamy and Lorenzo Carter go through a drill that Bill Belichick is leading. pic.twitter.com/frjOT7Qu72— Jason Butt (@JasonHButt) March 21, 2018
NFL.com projects Carter as second or third round pick. Given the speed and athleticism he showcased in the combine and during his pro day, I would not be surprised if some team took a shot at him near the end of the first round.
With San Francisco having the 9th overall pick in the draft it would be waaaay too much of a reach to select Carter. I could envision a scenario, though, where the 49ers don’t end up drafting Tremaine Edmunds or Roquan Smith and, instead, pick up Lorenzo Carter somewhere in the draft on day 2.