The New York Giants made Lorenzo Carter the 66th overall pick in tonight’s third round of the NLF Draft.
Carter came to Athens with stratospheric expectations as arguably the top high school player in the country. For a long time it looked like he would never live up to the hype, as he was a steady but unspectacular contributor on the UGA defense in 2014 and 2015. He began to show some signs of coming to life in Kirby Smart’s first year in Athens, but remained an inconsistent player capable of both dominating select competition but also disappearing for long stretches.
Then in 2017 Carter seemed to put it all together. Carter played in all 15 games and started 10 of them, finishing third on the team in tackles, second in quarterback hurries, and fourth in sacks. He also had perhaps the biggest play of the season on special teams, blocking a field goal against Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl to set up the game winning touchdown by Sony Michel.
Carter is a freakish natural athlete, a 6’5, 250 pound edge rusher who ran a blazing 4.50 forty at the combine and also posted an explosive 130 inch broad jump. Those numbers seem to indicate that Carter’s best football may be in front of him.
‘Zo is a long strider who covers a lot of ground in a hurry. It wasn’t uncommon in 2017 to see him come out of nowhere to engulf ball carriers from behind, occasionally creating turnovers. He’s also improved tremendously as a barrier player in the run game, using his long arms to keep tackles off of him and uses excellent upper body flexibility to “get small” and slip away from blocks. I expect Carter will contribute in pass rush situations immediately but could grow into an every down player.
For the moment Carter’s selection makes five Bulldogs off the board, the most of any school in this year’s draft. It will be interesting to see if the lead holds. It will also be interesting to see how Kirby Smart and his staff make use of the fact that they helped turn players they didn’t recruit into elite NFL prospects at an alarming rate. Until later . . .