The Cleveland Browns might be set at the defensive end position. Then again, with new DC Jim Schwartz coming on board he may perceive this as a weakness behind Myles Garrett.
There is Chase Winovich, Jadeveon Clowney, and Stephen Weatherly who are all Unrestricted Free Agents and can sign with any club they wish at any time. One Restricted Free Agent is Chris Odom who was the USFL’s Most Valuable Defensive Player and then got injured in training camp.
On the roster is Alex Wright who played quite a bit this year along with Isaiah Thomas, both of which were rookies this past season.
Will any of these free agents be retained? Will they sign a guy during free agency? If not, here is a very good player to draft early: Andre Carter II. Not to be confused with Andre Carter of Western Michigan who also plays the defensive line, or Andre Carter that played for the New England Patriots and is now a defensive line college coach. That is Andre Carter I, his father.
This Andre Carter played some linebacker but mostly defensive end as a stud pass rusher. After his NFL career is completed, he will be required to fulfill his Army commitment. As a junior, he accumulated 15.5 sacks which set a new school record. He was also named to the All-American team.
Carter has long arms that give him great separation ability at the point of attack. Around college football circles he is known as a dominant pass-rusher. Pro Football Focus gave him an overall player grade of 93.4. But he is also prevalent in run support. He is also used at times to help defend the flats and underneath on zone pressure packages.
In the past, pro prospects at service academies had to finish out their military commitment before being able to play for NFL clubs. But for the first time, players at Army, Navy and Air Force would be clear to enter the 2023 NFL Draft under the provision to a recently passed congressional bill. The provision affords deferred service for players pursuing professional sports opportunities.
The good news is that he is projected to be drafted right around the Number 43 slot which the Browns currently own.
EDGE Andre Carter – Army
6’-7”, 265 pounds
Projected round: 2
Browns pick #43
DBN: Your height lends more to basketball. How did you get started playing football?
Carter: Watching NFL on Sunday with my dad, that really piqued my interest. I didn’t begin playing defense until my senior year in high school. I had lots of offers but chose Army because it is a prestigious institution and an honor to serve and be a part of something like this.
DBN: Being at the academy is a lot different than being at a normal college setting. What was those first few years like?
Carter: The first year was tough. First of all, I was playing in a college program for the first time. I got bounced around. With all the stuff you have to deal with at the academy was definitely hard to deal with. Just trying to stay focused and not get down on yourself. But all that just gets us closer together as a team. In the summertime I have had to do a lot worse things than play football.
DBN: Your junior year of 2021 you were nationally famous with all the sacks you had gotten.
Carter: I had a three-sack game, but more importantly we got the win. The leadership of our coaches was the mentality to keep us focused from week to week. I was able to take the drills and the preparation to finally show up on the field. When you practice hard it pays off.
Army pass rusher Andre Carter will be a household name next season. The 6’7” pass rusher had 15.5 sacks last season and could lead the nation in sacks next season. Check out our interview with him. @ArmyWP_Football @andrecarter2 https://t.co/0X0vIHLHtU— Inside The NFL Prospects (@theprospect_nfl) March 15, 2022
DBN: How do you describe your skills?
Carter: Just a hard worker will can get to the football.
DBN: Which is superior: pass rushing or run stoppage?
Carter: I am known as a pass rusher right now. But I will keep working on getting the run support better.
DBN: Are you a leader?
Carter: Yessir. For the last few years at the academy has trained me to be out front and able to be the leader on defense.
DBN: When scouts write about what they saw of you here in the one week of practice at the Senior Bowl, what will they say about you?
Carter: I hope they say focus, driven and confident. Nobody is going to out-work me.
DBN: Is it important for you to start in your rookie year?
Carter: Yessir it certainly is. I think that is everybody’s goal is to come in, compete and then be named the starter. That is what I am striving for.
DBN: What does the Army-Navy game mean to you?
Carter: That one game is everything. From the time you get to the academy is “Beat Navy” on the walls. It’s just instilled in you immediately. That’s the most important game for us and especially as a senior you want to end your career with a win. I try not to get caught up in all the pre-game theatrics going on, and instead focus on my assignment and fundamentals.
DBN: Name some of your favorite things to eat?
Carter: Collard greens, mac and cheese, fried chicken, stuff like that.
DBN: When you are finished with football, what do you see yourself doing?
Carter: Serve my commitment to the Army in field artillery. That is something I am looking forward to.
Barry Shuck is at the Reese’s Senior Bowl this week gathering interviews and providing coverage for Browns fans