Position Ranking: #1
Strengths: Played in a diverse defensive front at Oklahoma; understands all the coverages. Was frequently seen aligning the secondary. Shows a crisp backpedal with his heels low to the ground and good overall footwork. Crossover and backward movement is efficient in transition. Breaks quickly on the in and out routes in front of him to bat passes away or make the tackle on the ball carrier. Attacks downhill in the run game and drops his shoulders to fill the inside gap. Not tentative when taking on the fullback or squaring up on big running backs. Good straight line speed. Very aggressive against the run; shows good strength at the point of attack and has some striking ability. Has the strength and technique to be effective in the box and set the edge in contain. Plays with emotion and was seen encouraging teammates regularly.
Needs Improvement: Has good size but is a bit top heavy, needs to develop his lower body. Shows tightness in his hips. Doesn’t always break down quickly in space at the hips and knees to wrap-up. Makes plenty of his tackles high. Pursuit angles are inconsistent and he’ll often misjudge the outside speed of the running back, having to chase him down. More effective in two deep coverage than playing center field. It doesn’t look like he has the quickness in his break to get from the middle to the outside; has enough speed to cover the deep half. Tends to play the receiver instead of the ball, won’t gamble much even when he has leverage, content to make the tackle over the big play.
Bottom Line: Quinton Carter has a good combination of size and athleticism for either the free or strong safety position at the next level. He has the body frame to add extra weight and will likely improve his lower body size/strength with NFL training. Carter shows that he can be effective in deep coverage, the intermediate passing game, or down inside against the run. His versatility playing in Oklahoma’s diverse and aggressive scheme will also add to his value. In a draft class lacking big time playmakers at the safety position, Carter shows the upside and athleticism to develop into a very productive starter at the next level.
Draft Projection: 2nd round.