Why Undrafted?: Andre Carter II, OLB, Army

By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell

This series was created a number of years ago in response to questions about why certain well-known prospects went unselected in NFL drafts. For these articles, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. The positive response to “Why Undrafted” and questions from readers about why prospects were drafted lower than the media expectations led us to create the parallel series “Why the Slide?”

Both series are back this year. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at [email protected]. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

Entering the 2022 season, there was a lot of draft hype around Army linebacker Andre Carter II, justified by his excellent 2021 season. Carter recorded 15.5 sacks, four forced fumbles and 44 tackles that season. However in 2022, his production dipped to 37 stops and three sacks. Carter then played at the Senior Bowl, where it looked like he was more of a mid-rounder or third-day prospect. Thus, it was surprising when he went undrafted.

Team sources said a combination of factors led to Carter slipped through the 2023 NFL Draft. His tape from 2022 was not as impressive as 2021, and they felt that his week at the Senior Bowl really hurt him. The rest of the draft process added some more negatives that hurt him. Here is the summary from an AFC director of player personnel, “He has the service requirements, but he should have been drafted. The workouts were bad; his bench press was disappointing and ran slow. Has natural pass rush and is long, but he struggled at Senior Bowl. There were so many layers of the process that went against him.”

After going undrafted, Carter signed with the Minnesota Vikings, and that was a mixed landing spot. On the down side, the Vikings have a lot of veteran edge rushers, including the newly signed Marcus Davenport along with veterans Danielle Hunter, Za’Darius Smith and D.J. Wonnum. On the positive side, Hunter, Smith and Wonnum may not be on the roster for much longer. New defensive coordinator Brian Flores also is not married to those veterans, so if Carter plays well, Flores won’t hesitate to move on from veterans who are underperforming. Carter might have to try to earn a practice squad spot for 2023 with hopes of moving up to the roster during the season or in 2024.

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