Overview: Buffalo’s first fifth-round pick was super productive for an excellent TCU defense in college. Can he make a successful jump to the NFL?
Strengths: Really productive at TCU, including a Rose Bowl MVP trophy. Good straight-line speed. A better overall athlete than some people seem to think. Does a good job getting to the ball. Smart and plays with a sense of urgency. Has a nose for the ball in the air, recording a lot of pass breakups. No fear of hitting. Will do well in a zone defense. Great intangibles. Good fit in Dave Wannstedt’s system. Best name for a linebacker ever.
Weaknesses: A bit of tweener position-wise – he’s not really big and strong enough to play inside or fast enough to play outside. Not great changing directions. Really needs to add some bulk and strength. Will need to prove he can cover NFL RBs and TEs. So aggressive that he overruns the play at times. Willing to blitz but needs to develop a pass-rush move or two.
How He Will Fit in Buffalo: Carder is walking into a bit off a tough situation with the Bills already having drafted Nigel Bradham in the fourth round – plus the pair of young linebackers the team took in last year’s draft (Kelvin Sheppard and Chris White). Carder is really going to have to work for playing time. He should help on special teams right away, though.
The Bottom Line: I know a lot of fans are in love with Carder, but I’m not quite as optimistic. He has an NFL role, for sure, but I wonder where his ceiling is. It might not be anything more than “special teams ace and spot/backup linebacker.” But in the fifth round, you’ll take that.