Lorenzo Carter will always hold a special place in my heart for the blocked field goal during the Rose Bowl. I was bordering on hysteria after he pawed away Austin Siebert's 27-yard attempt in double OT. Y'all want to talk about the pro's and con's of significant spinal column damage from jumping versus a win at the Rose Bowl? I'll take it any day.
Over the course of his Dawg days, he always seemed to step up in big ways when the stage was set for him. I was at the Belk Bowl back in 2014, and I remember seeing him fly all over the field. His stats don't necessarily reflect a freakishly good performance, but my visceral takeaway from that game was "Lorenzo Carter+Nick Chubb=good football team". Despite the big time drop-off in his sophomore season, Carter has been consistent from a statistical perspective over his college career.
The Norcross-born Carter will be featured at some point in the NFL Draft which starts tonight with the Cleveland Browns first pick around 8 p.m. I'd suspect that Carter will be selected in the early 3rd round. However, I do have serious concerns with his abilities as a future NFL starter if he ends up in the wrong system. I think most GM's are scared to pull the trigger on a "project" like Carter.
He's 6'6", weighs 243 lbs, and runs a *takes off glasses to be sure I'm reading this correctly* 4.46 40-yard-dash. Athens' largest adult son can and will destroy every fiber of your being. He's like Thanos, except he looks good in silver britches. From everything I've seen in Athens, I think he has the natural skills to translate into being a great pro down he line.
There are situation that I think can lead to him quickly becoming an Anthony Barr-level player. However, he'll need some development to get there. I'd look at the Buffalo Bills, if they don't jump on someone like Tremaine Edwards from Virginia Tech earlier in the draft. Since their picks are closely packed--12th and 22nd overall and not again until 53rd, 56th, and 65--I think that Carter has an excellent shot to end up on their radar around that 56th or 65th pick. HC Sean McDermott always made a point to have a solid linebacker corps while he was with the Carolina Panthers, where he was Defensive Coordinator of the Year in 2015.
The Bills will need edge guys who can carry their four-man rush. Trent Murphy and Shaq Lawson don't have speed to bend the edge at DE, and Lorenzo Alexander is getting a little long in the tooth. He'll be 35 before the season starts and his production has slowed considerably since his Pro Bowl season back in 2016.
I also think there's a solid chance he could end up with the Kansas City Chiefs. Again, I'd be watching for his name to get called around their 54th overall choice. The Chiefs had a pretty awful defense in 2017, and I'm hoping Bob Sutton is able to turn things around if Carter ends up at Arrowhead. I really think he could be successful in their 3-4 scheme with his abilities to drop into coverage.
Regardless, I've got my fingers crossed that Carter ends up in a solid system that will reward his physical abilities with top-notch coaching and development. It'll take some time, but I think he will surprise a lot of people over the next several seasons in the NFL.