A Look at Draft Prospect Lorenzo Carter as a Potential Selection for the Detroit Lions in the 2018 NFL Draft
Carter Has A Rare Skill Set At Linebacker
Georgia linebacker Lorenzo Carter may be one of the most intriguing prospects of the 2018 NFL draft. At 6’6″, 250 lbs, he is build more like a defensive end than a stand-up linebacker. Which makes sense considering he entered college as a defensive end. However, linebacker is where he played the majority of his time at Georgia.
Carter was often brought down on the line as a blitzing linebacker on the edge. This is where he made a living last season. He demonstrates very good gap discipline against the run. Stack and shed is a tad slow but did not impact his play much last season as he rarely gives up ground when engaged. He uses his great length to keep himself from getting out leveraged and controlled. He possesses a natural feel against the run, which shows up big against counters and pulling lineman. Carter consistently sinks his hips, which helps mask the fact his hips are not the most fluid in movement.
This play against Oklahoma was a good example of his ability against the running game. He does a good job sensing the pulling lineman and not over-pursuing. Before the guard is able to get out to set the lead block, Carter takes him on with a shoulder, keeping his outside shoulder free which kept the play inside. Uses his length to extend and finish, even though you would like the tackle to be lower.
As a pass rusher he is very violent with his hand fighting and tackling. Carter does need to clean up both areas a bit though. He can be reckless and tackle high too often. Extends and rips well on the blitzes off the edge. He has shown better jump on the snap standing up versus his hand in the dirt. Bends the edge and flattens very well to the quarterback. While his long range speed showed up at the combine with a blazing 4.5 40-yard dash, his tape confirms that he needs some time to build up that speed.
His bull rush move often stalled though. Even at 250 lbs, he looks like he has the frame to add more weight. For his bull rush to be something useful against NFL lineman, he will likely need to bulk up and work on his technique. His stance is too often narrow at the base. It ends up losing Carter the necessary momentum to drive through the offensive player.
How Would He Fit In Detroit?
With the recent signings of linebackers Devon Kennard and Christian Jones, it is not as big a position of need as defensive line or running back. However, it is possible Carter is still available in the second round when Detroit picks on day two. If the Lions go defensive line in the first round, they could wait a round or two to take a running back with the depth this class has at the position. Especially considering the need for a prolific running back is lessened a bit this season with the signing of veteran LeGarrette Blount.
This could leave the door open for Carter to join Detroit early on day two. He would bring a much needed improvement to the pass rushing game that plagued the Lions last season. While his position could be similar to Kennard, both have the versatility to move all over the field. New Lions head coach Matt Patricia has had his best defenses when he had accumulated talent at the linebacker position. A line-backing corps that would comprise Jarrad Davis, Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Carter, Kennard, and Jones would give Patricia many different tools to work with and would allow him to be creative with the defensive play design.