The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

Dallas Cowboys Draft UNC OLB Bruce Carter in Second Round

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Jonathan Bales

In what was clearly a value-based move, the Dallas Cowboys selected UNC outside linebacker Bruce Carter with the 40th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.  It is unclear if the Cowboys envision Carter as an inside or outside linebacker at this point (or both), but it is obvious Carter was very high on their board.  Outside linebacker was hardly a need position (I rated it the Cowboys’ second-strongest position in my 2010 Position Grades), and although inside linebacker figured to be a need within a few years, there appeared to be more pressing ones (cornerback, safety and defensive end, among others).

Carter is a highly-talented player who could have been a top-15 pick had he not suffered a torn ACL in November.  He underwent reconstructive surgery in December, and all reports indicate he will be ready for training camp.  At 6’3”, 241 pounds, Carter is said to run somewhere in the 4.5 range.

Clearly an athlete, but how will the ‘Boys employ him?  Although others are reporting Carter will be another pass-rush option for defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, I’m not so sure.  Current outside linebacker Victor Butler, who people deemed as a “pass rush specialist” coming out of college due to his small stature, is 246 pounds.  Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware are both in the 260 range.  Carter’s weight is closer to that of the guys inside (Sean Lee is 242, Bradie James is 245 and Keith Brooking is 246).  I certainly don’t think Carter’s weight alone should rule him out as an edge-rusher (many of you know I often favor small, quick players to “thumpers”), but the idea that Carter will automatically stay at outside linebacker seems unfounded.

Perhaps Carter’s potential versatility to play both inside and outside was a selling point for Dallas.  If that’s the case, I agree with the idea, as Carter will have two chances to succeed.  However, with players like Brandon Harris, Ben Ijalana, and Carter’s UNC teammate Marvin Austin still on the board, I think the Cowboys could have still found plenty of value at a position of greater need.

I have posted a few of Carter’s videos below, and I will have a more in-depth scouting report coming later.

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10 Responses to Dallas Cowboys Draft UNC OLB Bruce Carter in Second Round

  1. Pingback: Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter Scouting Report | Dallas Cowboys Times

  2. Rick says:

    I really don’t understand this pick. But I haven’t scouted the guy.

  3. tyrone jenkins says:

    I am still szomewhat taken aback at the obvious over zealousness for LBs by the staff. Don’t have the stas in front of me but it seems like we’ve drafted a LB (sometime 2) in every draft for the last 4 drafts. I know running a 3-4 means u need lots of talented ones but if we continue to neglect other areas of need like safety, OG and CB.

    Who needs to be replaced 1st-L Davis, T Newman or B James?

  4. willis says:

    I have to say D. none of the above. <Igor Olshansky

  5. willis says:

    so I have to agree.

  6. moses says:

    I am not a big fan of T. Smith.
    He will be adequate but for a #9, it was poor value. At least he can help us this year.
    Carter is injured and will probably be out most of the year. We use a #2 for the future. Ijalana was still available and he was dominant in Div 2.
    Austin was there and we passed on him for Carter.
    3rd round we go RB. I think he is a good RB, but we had other pressing needs.
    Wasn’t Ellis still available? He would have been a good NT.

    I do not understand their draft philosophy.

    We have holes that need to be filled now when the team is in decent shape. We got the OT, no NT, no DE, a LB that we did not need and an RB that we did not need.

    Wow

  7. john coleman says:

    Evidently we had a pretty high grade on this guy. I know most early scouting reports(preinjury) had him as a top prospect.

    I’m a little surprised at picking him at #40. I do like his ability and think they have plans for him mostly on the inside. Remember that Butch Davis had ties with both Dallas and Cleveland. So we may have a little inside info on this guy. Also remember he was one of the highly touted Carolina defenders who didn’t get in trouble.

    Overall I like the pick if they view him as an ILB. I also believe the staff tinks he will be ready to contribute THIS SEASON. No other LB prospect besides Martez Wilson had even close to the measurables of Carter. I might also note that that both Carter and Wilson are guys with some outside rush ability.

    It might also be noteworthy that Rob Ryan commented early after he was signed that the CBs were better than most thought. Based on the draft thus far, he is putting his money where his mouth is. No CBs or DBs taken. Also no D-linemen. Maybe Ryan thinks he has what he needs for his scheme.

    So far we have gotten rid of Columbo and got a #4 ILB at worst. Add in Carter’s special teams ability and we have addressed to needs.

    Also keep in mind with no CBA in place, we have to hedge our bets financially.

  8. Bob says:

    He is just an average player. He missed a lot of tackles against FLA. He should fit in at dallas.

  9. Nate says:

    Elite athleticism and elite speed can’t be taught in the NFL but neither can ‘instinctiveness’ so it’ll be very interesting to see how Bruce Carter plays in Dallas. I believe, however, that it’s a very solid pick and Roy Ryan will LOVE having this dude on the team especially on 3rd downs, goal-line, and any situation where Carter’s elite speed will give us the edge on the offense. I really don’t SEE Carter as a ‘edge-rusher’ full-time. He’s way to light in the legs to ever ‘set the edge’ although he’ll be an above-average ‘blitzing LB’ for Rob Ryan. His 4.39 40yrd speed is incredible for man of his size. His athleticism reminds me of “Hollywood Henderson” who was a speed demon and made BIG PLAYS on special teams and in the run game/pass defense!!!

  10. Nate–Where did you see a 4.39? I was unaware of that if it took place.

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