Detroit Lions draft target: linebacker Lorenzo Carter

MEMPHIS, TN - DECEMBER 30: Wide receiver John Diarse
MEMPHIS, TN - DECEMBER 30: Wide receiver John Diarse /

The Detroit Lions have interviewed, and then run the pro day workout for Georgia’s Lorenzo Carter. He is clearly a target in the 2018 draft.

The Detroit Lions defense is going to look a lot different in 2018. Part of that difference will be a greater use of pass rushing linebackers. General manager Bob Quinn went out and got one during the free agency period. Devon Kennard has the ability to play with his hand in the dirt, or standing up. He is a much better player with a more straight forward responsibility to deal with though.

The university of Georgia’s Lorenzo Carter may be just what the new head coach ordered. Carter stands an insane 6’6″ and weighs 250 lbs. He also ran a 4.50 40 yard dash at the combine, jumped 36″ up, and 130″ broad. Calling Carter an athletic freak is actually understating the matter. On the field he has player on the line in both a two and three point stance, and as an off the ball linebacker.

Carter is am incredibly long player. In coverage he gets by largely on the fact that his wingspan makes players who look open far from it. He effectively stays busy at the top of his zone drops, and reacts quickly to plays developing in front of him. His instincts are not spectacular, but better than many stand up linebackers in the draft. His lateral movement before the throw is not amazing, but when he turns to run, he reaches his target in an instant.

Where Carter will make his money in the NFL is pressuring the quarterback, and annihilating screen passes. The speed with which he closes to the ball is unmatched in this class, apologies to Roquan Smith. Carter uses his length to full advantage, extending his entire frame toward a tackle with the effect of a striking cobra.

His lack of lateral mobility does limit his solo tackle numbers. As a stand up linebacker he is often the second or third man in. For that reason, he is far and away best used on the ball. He is a pretty good off the ball linebacker. When he is exploding toward a quarterback there are few in this class that can touch him.

Next: Lions draft target Herculese Mata'afa

At Georgia, the Bulldogs used the fact that in college the best athlete wins to take advantage of his gifts. Carter was everywhere from nickle corner to defensive end. In the NFL versatility is useful, but greatness is better. Lorenzo Carter is great when he is moving toward the ball, but just a guy when moving away from it.