2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Zachary Carter

  • Zachary Carter, 6-3/285

  • Defensive Tackle/End

  • Florida

  • Zachary Carter Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Quick at the point of attack
  • Skilled interior pass rusher
  • Quality first-step, get-off
  • Can fight through blocks as a pass rusher
  • Versatile
  • Can rush off the edge or inside
  • Speed to close
  • Has experience lining up at a variety of spots
  • Successful against good competition
  • Ready to contribute

  • Weaknesses:
  • Weak run defender
  • Gets pushed around in the ground game
  • Does not hold his ground well against blocks
  • Teams can run at him
  • Should improve downhill run defense
  • Tweener end/tackle

  • Summary: The Florida program is not the elite football factory it once was, but for the past couple of drafts, the Gators have had some good prospects who were recruited under former head coach Jim McElwain. A year ago, those players were led by Kyle Pitts, Kadarius Toney and Kyle Trask. Carter is the last of the good McElwain recruits who will end up being an early-round pick. Carter had 30 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 2019 and then improved in 2020 with 36 tackles and five sacks. Carter had his best season in 2021, recording 31 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and eight sacks.

    As a run defender, Carter has room for improvement for the NFL. He plays the run on the way to the quarterback, and he does not like to fight blocks at the point of attack. He could stand to add weight to improve as a run defender. If he were to play five-technique in a 3-4 defense, he will have to become a better run defender because that is essential for that position. Because of his run-defense limitations, right now, he is a heavy edge setter who can bump inside to tackle in the sub package.

    In the pass rush, Carter has the ability to fire his gap. He uses some functional strength to shed blocks and can close quickly on the quarterback. He can line up over the outside shoulder of the guard and is good at getting penetration into the pocket. Carter also can beat right tackles with quickness around the edge. He has a nice lean and ability to sink his hips towards the quarterback. Carter could be a nice asset to line up over a variety of offensive lineman and go after the quarterback. He may never produce huge sack numbers in the NFL, but he could be a quality pass rusher who contributes to the rush package.

    “[Carter]’s a heavy edge guy that would bump inside in the sub,” said a director of player personnel. “He is a tweener. Doesn’t like to grind blocks right now. He got tossed around versus the run in the Alabama game. He’s similar to Boogie Basham, but Carter is not as gifted.”

    Multiple team sources feel Carter is a tweener, which is problematic. Taking a long-term approach, his best path to sticking in the NFL might be gaining weight and playing as a three-technique defensive tackle. His run defense, however, is a problem for that position. As it stands heading into the 2022 NFL Draft, Carter will have to fit at the next level as a defensive end in a 4-3 or a 3-4 outside linebacker who moves inside in the rush package. He could be a second-day pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

    Player Comparison: Mario Edwards Jr. Some team sources have compared Carter to Edwards, which makes sense. Edwards (6-3, 277) and Carter are almost identical in size while being tweener end/tackles. Edwards was a second-round pick, and Carter could go in Round 2 as well. As a pro, Carter could end up being a similar player to Edwards.


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