WalterFootball.com is proud to introduce our 2012 NFL Draft Diary with TCU linebacker Tank Carder. Throughout the draft process, Tank will be sharing his experience with the readers of WalterFootball.com. Tank will hit on the East-West Shrine Game experience, team interviews, the NFL Scouting Combine, his pro day, pre-draft visits, and of course, his draft day experience.
Carder was the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of they Year the past two seasons. He also was the Rose Bowl Defensive MVP in TCU's win over Wisconsin at the end of the 2010 season.
Carder totaled 228 tackles with 25 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, 19 passes broken up and four interceptions with three returned for touchdowns in his collegiate career. Carder is a hard-nosed football player who should have an interesting draft experience in 2012.
WalterFootball.com would like to thank Tank Carder for his participation. We would also like to thank Tank's agent, Kelli Masters of KMM Sports, for helping to facilitate Tank's draft diary. Carder and Masters are readers of this Web site, so it was a natural fit to approach them about having Tank's draft diary here. We are thrilled to have Tank share his journey with all of you. Now, let's let Tank take over.
I had a blast at the East-West Shrine practices and it was fun to get some extra time playing the game I love. The practices were a big learning experience for me. At TCU we played a 4-2-5 defense and at the East-West it was a 4-3, so I got to learn a whole new defense and coverages, the terminology and adjustments and everything. It was fun to learn. I was in college for four years and now I'm learning a different way of taking on blockers appropriately and properly so it really was a lot of fun for me.
The 4-2-5 defense wasn't completely different. We could slide into a 4-3, and stuff like that. It was similar, but as far as Sam (strongside linebacker), Mike (middle linebacker) and Will (weakside linebacker), we named them differently. It is all football at the end of the day. You have to play the run first and then you got to get to pass coverage.
Entering the NFL, I feel like I can adapt and play in any defense in the league whether it is a 4-3 or a 3-4. At East-West I felt like adapted quickly to the 4-3 and I know I can do that when I land with my team. I feel like that is one of my strengths, being able to adapt from position to position and system to system. I'll work hard and learn the techniques to be effective at that position.
Another adjustment aside from the 4-2-5 to the 4-3, was making the calls in the huddle. Its funny because I haven't been in a huddle on defense since high school. All through college it was stand around and get the call/signal from the coaches on the sideline. Everybody was on their own to extent of seeing the call from the sideline. You tend to see a lot more college defenses these days running that. That is in part because of the pace of college offenses that go up tempo so much and hurry up to the line to try and catch you off guard.
We made checks and we made audible calls and coverage calls on the field, but as far as being in a huddle I haven't done that since high school. It is a little different for me, but I like it.
It is all about being a leader. It's part of the job and that's what you play the game for. You have to get your guys in the huddle and focused and then make the call. If I'm called on to do that in the pros I can definitely do that and take on that load. It is definitely different for me but I really enjoyed it and had fun with it.
At night after practice we had lots of interviews with teams. They went well, and you get to meet a lot of new people. A lot of new faces, it is always good and you can never know too many people in the NFL. It is even better for me so those teams can get to know me and what kind of person I am. It is fun to meet all those guys. It is all part of the process and it is awesome to be living this right now. It is a blessing and a dream coming true.
I really haven't gotten any crazy questions yet. I'm sure it gets crazy at the combine, but right now it is all basic information. Your numbers, your family, where you grew up, where your family members are, so for the most part is basic information for them to get started on their background process. I'm sure those crazy questions will come soon and I've heard about them.
In speaking to the teams, all of them said they definitely like my instincts. They've all said that I'm a pretty aware football player. They like my instincts on the field on the run and as a coverage player. That is one of my strengths.
They also pointed out some weaknesses. For that they said my point strength with taking on blocks and shedding them. That is something for me to work on and get better at. That is a big-time motivation for me as I continue to progress in this sport and move on to the next level. There is always something you need to improve in your game.
I like to hear the negatives better than the positives. I think it is an opportunity to get better when you hear the critique, so it is good to get that side of it.
At TCU, I made my bread and butter by getting to the point of attack first and running past blockers rather than taking them on and shedding. I've always made a living on getting past blockers rather than trying to run through them. I used my quickness and I feel like that is one of my advantages is my speed and quickness. That was a big part of my game in college, but now it's the next level so I'm looking to add this and get better. I want to take my skill set for college, add in what I need for the NFL, and build myself into an effective NFL linebacker. I'm more than willing to do that.
Taking on blockers is the next thing I need to master and that's what I'm working towards. I'm going to learn from the guys that know how to do it well. I'm going to watch lots of film and take notes, and try and execute it myself.
All my new teammates were fun to get know. The guys all got comfortable and we started cutting up and laughing. Football teams are families so you need that. There are different personalities and you get to know more people. It was a lot of fun.