Saturday Scouting: Andre Carter II

In this week's entry of Saturday Scouting, we're taking a look at a prospect whose stock may be free-falling as we speak, but likely will find a safety net in the third round thanks to Tom Telesco's draft philosophy.

Andre Carter II, EDGE, Army. 6'7'', 252 lbs

Andre Carter II is aiming to be the first player from Army drafted earlier than the 7th round since 1947. While this is an incredible feat, it's fair to be concerned with how a prospective first round talent went so under-the-radar during his high school recruitment.

Carter apparently was sprouting in length through high school quicker than his body could fill out. Although his heart was on the defensive side of the ball, he didn't have the build or strength to play defense. He was utilized as a wide receiver and tight end, but his lack of strength kept him in a rotational role at tight end. After his senior year concluded, Carter was left with no clear path to football beyond high school, until his mother found prep school Cheshire Academy. He had added 20 pounds and an inch of height on his high school frame, rounding him out to a sturdier 6'5", 220 pounds, and Coach Dave Dykeman immediately made Carter a two-way player for Cheshire. He was a natural pass rusher from the linebacker position, and flexed versatility in pass coverage from his time on the other side of the ball. Dykeman encouraged his contacts at West Point to take a close look at Carter, and the rest is history.

Carter didn't storm onto the collegiate scene immediately, but when he did, it was like a blast out of a West Point canon. After two years of seeing minimal rotational work, Carter made a name for himself in 2021 when he rushed for 58 pressures and 15 sacks, trailing only Will Anderson for most sacks on the year. He followed up with a less-prolific yet solid 2022 season, tallying 21 pressures and 4 sacks.

Carter has been touted as a top prospect with clear 1st round talent, with the only concern being whether or not he would be allowed to defer his service until after his NFL career. Previously, Army graduates could defer their five years of required service time until after their NFL careers, but a bill was passed during Carter's time at Army that took away this deferral option. Luckily for Carter, a follow-up bill was signed that grandfathered players like Carter who enrolled and made their commitment to Army under the pretense of such a deferral option, making the restriction only applicable to students that enrolled after after the passing of the National Defense Authorization Act.

His talent is there on film. He has solid pass rush moves, an explosive first step, and a knack for finishing. He also has versatility from playing on the offensive side of the ball that could enable a coach to drop him into a zone.

What Does His Disastrous Senior Bowl Tell Us?

I don't think anyone is experiencing a bigger drop in their stock from the Senior Bowl. If you look at Carter's college tape closely, he often lined up very far outside his opposing tackle, and used his speed and explosion to bend the edge. If a tackle lost his footwork trying to match Carter's outside move, his wide berth gave him room to work the inside with minimal double team potential.

Now, he's being asked to take on lineman in straight-up one on one drills, and his lack of strength looks obvious.

These kinds of losses have been a fairly regular thing for Carter this week in Mobile. Occasionally, he's managed a finesse win, but he is clearly outmatched if a lineman gets their paws on Carter.

Does This Increase or Decrease the Chance Tom Drafts Carter?

Tom is a well-known lover of the Senior Bowl. Many of his draft selections have come directly from the iimpressions made on Tom and his scouting department in Mobile. Selecting a player that actually had their stock fall this week would be a deviation from the norm for the Chargers.

What makes this situation unique is Tom Telesco's third round draft philosophy. Tom loves drafting for traits and potential in round three, often drafting players that are a major developmental factor or two away from being impact players, rather than seeking out NFL ready talents that would seemingly be Day One starters with perhaps lesser ceilings.

JT Woods has the athletic profile to be an impact player in the secondary... if he can add discipline to his tackling and play smarter in his zone assignments.

Trey Pipkins has the prototypical size and feet to be a franchise tackle... if he could (and he did!) add enough strength to anchor the edge.

Andre Carter II has the length, explosion, athleticism, and production to be an All-Pro edge rusher... if he can put on 25 pounds of muscle on his slim frame.

Although Carter's stock is taking a major hit this week, he's likely got a floor of the 85th pick of the draft, where Tom Telesco picking his developmental EDGE of the future seems so on-brand it's almost painfully obvious. With a pair of elite bookends on the roster already, and an All-Pro mentor in Khalil Mack, there's likely not a better fall-back situation in the NFL for Carter to slide into and focus on his growth and development..

What do you think Bolts From the Blue? Would you roll the dice on Carter in the third, despite his rough week?

This FanPost was written by a member of the Bolts From The Blue community and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bolts From The Blue editors or SB Nation.