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2017 NFL Draft Profile: Nebraska Tight End Cethan Carter

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The late-blossoming TE hopes to hear his name called in a later round this year.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Nebraska Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Blossoming late in his career with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, tight end Cethan Carter became a player who blossomed inside Danny Langsdorf pro-style offense.

While he probably wishes he had one more season in Lincoln, Carter will leave Nebraska with his degree in criminology and criminal justice.

Carter arrived in Lincoln from Archbishop Rummel High School in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was a mid-level, three-star tight end who was the 28th-best tight end in the 2013 recruiting cycle. Carter was the 29th-best player in the state of Louisiana and 672nd-best player in the entire ‘13 cycle, also by 247Sports standards.

Before committing to Nebraska, Carter had only offers from 5 other Group of 5 schools. Nebraska was his only Power 5 offer, and I had stated that Nebraska had taken a flier on Carter, considering he was the lesser of Nebraska’s TE board at the time.

In his first 2 seasons, Carter was seldom used to catch passes and more as a run-blocking TE under the guidance of Barney Cotton in Tim Beck’s offense. Getting through a foot injury in his sophomore season, Carter had his best game in the Beck system against Iowa, nailing two catches that helped the Huskers score both times in the OT win.

When Langsdorf came along with Mike Riley, Carter was seen more as a dual-treat TE who could not only block, but also run and catch the football. To this day, Carter’s 32-yard TD run is the only rushing touchdown by a tight end in program history.

Injuries plagued Carter in his final season at Nebraska, but he did finish his 2 years under Riley and Langsdorf with 33 of his 59 career receptions. He also with honorable mention All-Big Ten his final 2 seasons with the media, and once in ‘16 with coaches voting.

Cethan’s NFL Scouting Combine Results:

40 Yard Dash: 4.68 seconds
Bench Press: 19 reps

His Draft Profile:

STRENGTHS Able to sustain move blocks in space against safeties and cornerbacks. Has the athleticism to get to his play-side angles as a zone blocker. Operates with good hand placement as a blocker most of the time. Gives adequate effort in running game. Gets off the line and into his route with adequate speed. Opens quickly out of the top of his route and makes himself a wide target for the quarterback. His 2015 tape shows the speed and athleticism to work the deep middle and intermediate routes.

WEAKNESSES Hands were bad over the last two years with 10 drops against 43 catches. Struggles with hands when ball gets above the waist and with most quick-reaction catches. Limited catch radius with short arms and small hands. Offered little run-after-catch potential at Nebraska. Routes are raw and lack quality. Features too much forward lean as both a pass and run blocker causing him to tumble forward off of blocks. Needs to learn to run his feet under his hands for better block security. May be too small to handle in-line duties as a blocker.

BOTTOM LINE Carter is a block-first, move tight end in the Nebraska offense but he lacks the size and ability to sustain at the point of attack to handle in-line blocking duties on the next level. He may not have the hands or route separation to handle pass-catching duties on the next level and he has played sparingly on special teams. To carve out a spot on a roster, Carter will have to prove that he can do one of those things well.

Some videos breaking down Carter, per Matt Waldman’s website.