DELONE CARTER, RB, SYRACUSE
Triangle Numbers: 5-8, 222, 4.56
Positives: Very good at holding onto the football, rarely fumbles… Leaves it all out on the football field, constantly giving 100 percent and gets all the tough yards… Great runner between the tackles, keeps his pads low and churns his legs… Always keeps his legs moving, gets a ton of yards after contact… Should contribute nicely as a short yardage back… Good vision, sees the hole open up quickly… Great fit in a zone blocking scheme, at his best as a one-cut runner… Has run for 1,000 yards in back to back seasons and ended his career on a strong note with a 198 yard, two touchdown effort against Kansas State in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl… Gets a lot of comparisons to Marion Barber for his style of play and knack for picking up tough yardage.
Negatives: Below average in the open field, doesn’t have a ton of moves to break long runs… Raw in pass protection, typically is substituted out in third down situations… Hasn’t been asked to contribute much as a receiver, only has 28 career receptions in his four years at Syracuse… Comes with character concerns, had some academic issues early in his career and a misdemeanor assault charge as well… Has just average speed… Dislocated his hip in 2007 spring game forcing him to miss the entire 2007 season… Suffered a hamstring injury in 2008 that forced him to miss most of the season.
A thick, well-put-together running back with a strong-looking lower body and muscular base; does a nice job running behind his pad level. Doesn’t give defenders much of an area to hit when asked to run inside and consistently is able to pick his way through the line of scrimmage, break/bounce off tackles and create yards after contact. Displays good balance and lateral ability when asked to change directions and is fluid enough to make a man miss and accelerate quickly out of his breaks. Possesses a good first step, but lacks great straight-line speed. Does a nice job setting up blocks and being patient, but at times will stop moving his feet, try to keep plays alive and take the negative play as opposed to simply lowering his shoulder and working for tough yards.
Does have some character concerns and missed all of spring practice this past year for punching a student in the face over a snowball incident. Has had hip troubles in the past and sustained a bone bruise this year which caused him to miss some time during the middle of the season. However, he can catch the football out of the backfield and although he needs some time, possesses the frame to mature into a solid blocker.
Impression: Exhibits a strong frame, natural running skills and looks like one of the better senior backs in the country. Does have some character and injury concerns, which will likely cause him to slide, but if he can keep his nose clean, he should be able to make and contribute as a tough reserve on an NFL roster.
Delone Carter didn’t exactly burst onto the scene as a true freshman in 2006 when he rushed for 713 yards. However, for a true freshman, Syracuse knew they had a special player and Carter had the second best rushing season for a freshman in Orange history. While the numbers, including just four touchdown runs, were not spectacular, Carter set up what was to come. Unfortunately for Carter, the 2007 season was lost after he dislocated his hip in the spring. Injuries again derailed Carter’s progress when he missed all but four games in the 2008 season.
It was as a junior in 2009 when Carter finally stayed healthy enough to play an entire season. After rushing for 1,021 yards and 11 touchdowns, Carter proved to all doubters that he could get the job done game in and game out. Heading into 2010 the question was whether or not Carter could stay healthy for another full season. However, those concerns were briefly overshadowed by a suspension, but Carter did not miss a game during his senior season for that reason. Through 11 games in 2010, Carter has once again eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark and has run for seven scores.
Carter and Syracuse are garnering some national attention due to their dramatic turnaround and surprisingly successful season. Carter is a big part of that success and he is turning into a sleeper in this year’s draft. At 5-10 (which is probably being a little generous) and 215 pounds, Carter has the size to be an every down back, but also has the shiftiness and speed to break some big plays. By the third round, Carter will look like a really good running back.
2/10 Update: Carter followed his New Era Pinstripe Bowl MVP honors with a dominate performance in the East-West Shrine Game. Carter led all rushers with 11 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown. For his efforts, he won the game’s MVP award. The most impressive thing about Carter was his ability to fight through traffic and break tackles despite his diminutive stature. With another good showing at the NFL Combine, Carter could sneak into the second round and surpass a handful of other backs.
[pro-player width=’530′ height=’253′ type=’video’]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yT0BGhIF4LI[/pro-player]
Delone Carter is a mid round running back prospect who has been gaining steam in recent weeks. Short, but tough. Can run between the tackles. Tough to bring down. Very productive. Always fights for extra yards. Not sure if he has the speed to be a consistent starter at the next level. He’s a bit like Ahmad Bradshaw, but without the open field skills. For a team that needs a backup, could fit well. However, he doesn’t have much of an outside running game. Both Bradshaw and Jacobs are more of inside runners. Need an outside complement. Could fit, but I think there are better fits out there.