There has not been an Army Black Knight drafted in the NFL Draft since 2008. That is going to change this year. And an Army player has not been drafted in the first round since 1947. That could change.
Army edge rusher Andre Carter II had a monster career. He placed second in the NCAA in sacks in 2021. His prowess even sparked a controversy in the U.S. Congress when one representative introduced an amendment to a defense bill that would have prevented Carter and other athletes from the service academies from immediately going pro. Later that amendment was removed.
Carter made 14.5 sacks, 17.0 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, two pass defenses, and one interception his junior year, then chose to stay for his senior year. He had a down year, comparatively speaking, only registering 3.5 sacks.
Carter has a first- or second-round grade, according to various analysts. But the important question is what kind of production can we expect from him in the IDP box scores? Let’s dig into the scouting!
Tale of the Tape:
- School: Army
- Year: Senior
- Height: 6′ 7”
- Weight: 252 lbs
- Arm Length: 34
- Span: 82 1/8
Carter ranked second in sacks in the entire country his junior year, behind only fellow 2023 prospect Will Anderson Jr. (17.5) of Alabama, and half a sack ahead of Aidan Hutchinson. He did face off against less talented offensive linemen and tight ends than Anderson and Tyree Wilson of Texas Tech. In his three games against Power Five schools in 2021, Wisconsin, Wake Forest, and Missouri, he managed seven solo tackles, four for loss, 2.0 sacks, and a forced fumble.
In his senior year, Carter’s numbers were down, but he missed a couple of games and was constantly being double teamed. He was only on the field for 173 pass rushes in 2022, 120 fewer than in 2021. If he had played the same number of snaps, he would have been on track for 8.9 sacks and 28.8 hurries. That’s still 40% fewer sacks and 20% fewer pressures than his senior year, but it’s not as big of a drop off as it looks at first glance. Carter’s career numbers compare favorably to first-round prospects. He has more sacks than anyone but Will Anderson and Isaiah Foskey and more hurries than anyone but Anderson.
NFL scouts aren’t just looking at his stats, as impressive as they are. They like his potential. His size, speed, and athleticism is off the charts, but he’s still pretty raw. Carter’s lower body is less developed compared to his upper body. His form needs a lot of work. He’s not a three-down linebacker, and he’s inconsistent against the run. NFL coaches should be salivating, thinking about what they could do with him when he gets into an NFL weight room, adds some muscle, and perfects his technique.
Carter’s size puts him in the top ten percent of edge rushers. At 6′ 7”, he is as tall as the tallest edge rushers in the NFL, and his arm length (34 inches), and wing span (82 and 1/8) all put him in the top 80% to 95%. His weight is a little bit less than a lot of outside linebackers. He was listed at 260 pounds, but he weighed in at 252 at the Senior Bowl. He can bulk up in the weight room. As a cadet, Carter did not have the availability for a year-round training program as those prospects do at Power Five programs. With his height and reach, he is good at getting his hands up and disrupting quarterbacks.
After a 4-2 start to 2021, Army went to Madison, to face the first Power Five opponent. Army would lose by six, but Carter gave them a chance to shock Wisconsin. After the Badgers’ second touchdown in the second quarter, Carter (#34) jumped the line and jumped again and extended his arms to get a hand on the ball, causing it to miss. Combining quickness, hops, and overall athleticism with his size, Carter has a wide range from anywhere on the field.
Carter is skilled at tracking receivers and making plays on the football. His size and athleticism benefit him in pass coverage, too. He gets his hands up and knocks down passes. He made five pass defenses in his career and two interceptions.
Here against Air Force in 2021, Carter reacted well to a trick play. He stayed in position on the edge after a handoff to the wide receiver in motion. Noticing the pass coming, he quickly changed direction and got to the flat. He jumped high, got a hand on the pass, and tipped it to where his teammate was able to catch it.
Carter can keep up with receivers downfield, too. Here he is against Liberty University, running 25 yards with a receiver out of the backfield and getting up to prevent Malik Willis’s pass from being completed.
In 2021, Carter played 75 snaps of pass coverage and only allowed five completions on nine targets for 52 yards and no touchdowns. In 2022, he dropped into coverage on 87 snaps and allowed four completions on six targets for 45 yards and no touchdowns.
Winning From the First Step
Carter consistently anticipates the snap and gets moving faster than his teammates and even faster than the offensive line in many plays.
Against UMass in 2021, Carter made three sacks and forced two fumbles. In this play, he gets off the ball faster than the tackle trying to block him. As the tackle is getting up out of his stance, Carter’s feet are already moving. He gets leverage, shoots past him, and attacks the quarterback from behind before any of the receivers have made their first cut, forcing a fumble.
Agility and Locating Ball Carrier
His speed is impressive for someone of his size. Carter is good at working across the football field and locating the ball carrier. He was clocked around 4.7 in the 40-meter dash.
With the 2022 Army-Navy game tied 10-10 with a minute left, Carter was not fooled by this fake handoff on a read-option and left the Navy quarterback with nowhere to go, wrapping him up for a short gain. Army won in double overtime.
Carter is a powerful tackler when he meets an opponent head-on, but he doesn’t always come with proper technique. He has a tendency to slip off the ball carrier, hit from too high, or grab and drag.
Here against Bailey Zappe’s Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in 2021, you can see some good and some bad from Carter. He got across the field fairly quickly after a screen pass and made first contact with receiver Jerreth Sterns about three yards past the line of scrimmage. But Carter grabbed him around the back and slipped off, and as Sterns kept moving forward, he gained an extra seven yards for the first down.
Carter is raw. His lanky body makes him unwieldy and susceptible to cut blocks. He might not be a three-down linebacker from day one, but he can work on these things at the NFL level. He has already made improvements to his tackling at the collegiate level. His missed tackle rate dropped from 27.3% to 21.2% to 10.3% in subsequent seasons.
Carter is a hard worker and an amazing athlete with a knack for getting after the ball. When he makes the quarterback go down, the ball often comes out. He doesn’t just knock down passes. He has a way of directing them to his teammates.
Carter may take a year or so to develop, but if he hits his upside, he is poised to be a playmaker, like Jared Allen, who causes turnovers. From an IDP standpoint, he’ll be filling the stat sheets with forced fumbles, fumble recoveries, pass defenses, and occasional interceptions, in addition to tackles and sacks.
His stock has been up and down. In the summer of 2022, Carter was viewed as a fringe top-10 pick. His down year dented him, and then he took another fall at the Senior Bowl, where he weighed in at less than advertised and was seen as lacking strength compared to other top prospects. Still, he is likely to go in the second half of the first round or early in the second round. A team like Chicago, Houston, or Seattle could really use an edge rusher like him.
Rookie drafts are approaching fast. Be prepared with the #1 mock draft tool on the market. And it’s FREE. Available for iPhone and Android. Become a DynastyGM subscriber and sync your leagues with the Dynasty Nerds App to mock draft your actual teams.