The Clemson Insider gives a scouting report on every player on Clemson’s summer depth chart. We will break down what the player does best, what he needs to work on, how he compares to other former players at his position and where he fits on the Clemson roster.
Player name: Ryan Carter (5-9, 180)
Player position: Cornerback
Years left of eligibility: 1 year
Current rank on depth chart: First Team
Player productivity so far: Carter developed into a starting cornerback on Clemson’s 2016 National Championship team. He has 52 tackles, nine pass breakups and an interception in 860 snaps in his 41-game career. He also had 15 career starts. In 2016, he earned the defense’s Iron Man Award. He produced 29 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, seven pass breakups and an interception in 15 games, including 13 starts. He saw a career-high 624 snaps, well over his combined career total entering the season.
What player does best: Carter is quick and despite his size, he is very physical and aggressive. He has good technique and he rarely gets beat. He is also a very smart player, who studies the game and his opponent very well. He is always looking to get better or to find a weakness or advantage over his opponent.
What player needs to work on: Carter can still get stronger, though he is in top-notch physical condition for his size and weight.
Productivity of former Clemson players at the position (first year and last):
Cordrea Tankersley, 2016: He had 65 tackles, including six tackles for loss. He also led the team with 11 pass breakups and was second with four interceptions. His interception in the fourth quarter of the ACC Championship game sealed the Tigers’ win. He had two interceptions in the game.
Mackensie Alexander, 2014: He had 22 tackles, including two tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He also had six passes broken up. Rarely did he have the ball thrown on him. Went the last 10 weeks of the season without allowing a touchdown pass thrown on him.
Mackensie Alexander, 2015: He had 30 tackles, including two tackles for loss. He also had six passes broken up. He was a shutdown corner and rarely did opposing quarterbacks throw to his side. He went the entire season (15 games) without giving up a touchdown pass.
Bashaud Breeland, 2012: He had 32 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack. He had three passes broken up.
Bashaud Breeland, 2013: He had 74 tackles, including 5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and 2 sacks. He also had a team-high 13 passes broken up and one quarterback pressure. He was tied for the team lead with 4 interceptions with a long of 29 yards.
What can you hope for? The last four starters at Carter’s position went on to be drafted into the NFL. Tankersley is expected to challenge for a starting spot this fall in Miami and so is Alexander in Minnesota, while Breeland has been a starter the last two years at Washington. Then there is Cody Sensabaugh at Pittsburgh, who will be challenging to be the Steelers’ starting nickel back in 2017.
What is a realistic expectation? Carter is more than capable of having an All-ACC caliber season. Though his height gives him a disadvantage when it comes to challenging tall receivers, he makes up for it with his quickness and his smarts as he out plays his opponent more times than not.
What about the future? Carter’s quickness and his ability to understand zone concepts will give him the opportunity to play as a nickel back in the NFL, a position he will play at times this year as well.