Scouting Report: The Oklahoma Sooners' Quinton Carter is a guy who came on in a huge way once he found his way to Norman. He was pretty unheralded coming out of high school, but was one of the 2 or 3 best defensive players on his team last year. His size is good, but not great. His height is an advantage, and he's got a long muscular frame. His speed is very good for his size and it isn't just in shorts. I feel like the strength of his game, and this is a term I've used before, is he's very "sudden". He makes quick decisions, is quick to the ball, and arrives at the play with intensity and explosion. It's because of this that carter has exceptional range, and seems to be in on every play. From a technical standpoint, Carter has work to do. I gave him good marks for coverage because he's solid in zone, and because his quickness allows him to recover well. Also because he seems to get his hands on the football quite a bit. The downside is his coverage technique, especially in man coverage is not great. And while he gets his hands on the football, he's never going to pick off a lot of passes.
Draft Status: I don't consider any of the safety prospects in this draft elite (unless you want to make Patrick Peterson a safety), so we aren't talking first round here. I think Carter would be a nice value pick for a mid 2nd round choice. You'll get a kid who will start at strong safety for a long time. There is some debate over just who the best safety is in this draft, compared to a guy like DeAndre McDaniel from Clemson. I think McDaniel is a better all around player, but Carter is still a good player.
Final Analysis: In a draft class that doesn't have a lot of top talent at the spot, Carter gets a bit of a bump. I think he's a nice player, and better yet is a high character young man and you just can't discount that these days. On the downside, Carter plays too high. He's too upright in coverage which hurts him in man, he comes in too high when he tackles, and often goes for the kill shot rather than a good form tackle. When you watch OU highlights, you see the bad of Carter when he gives up a deep ball in man coverage or misses a tackle and a player goes deep. These are things the NFL will have to shield him from and coach him up in for him to be successful. He's a smart player, knows what his assignments are, and is athletic enough to play at an NFL level, but he's got some refining to do to improve his consistency. Playing the run isn't a concern as he diagnoses the play quickly and closes to the ball, shedding blockers. But he's got to learn to finish smarter.
Reminds me of: Ryan Clark S Pittsburgh Steelers - Carter is a little taller than Clark, but they both play with a similar mentality and skill set. Clark has never been heralded but in his time for the Redskins he beat out supposedly more talented players and has been a steady performer, especially paired up with a better player like Troy Polamalu. Like Clark, Carter might find himself drawing a few fines if he can't learn to tackle lower in the pros. If Carter can get on a team where he can be allowed to play to his strengths, with a safety net behind him, he will have success as well.
Red Flags: None
Scouting Report written by Curt Popejoy