There is a serious problem at the linebacker position next to stud Sean Lee. Let's face it, Bradie James and Keith Brooking are not a great fit for this defense. Whenever we put them on the field, it's a huge liability for this team. This defense can seriously be so much better if we had a guy we could plug in next to Sean Lee. Keith Brooking is 35 years old, Bradie James is 30 years old, but an extremely old 30 years old.
Sean Lee is quickly developing into one of the best linebackers in the NFL, that's just keeping it real folks. Even if I was a fan of another team I would say that. When you watch the Dallas Cowboys play defense, #50 is just a beast. He may be our best football player on the field and Lee can take this defense to the next level. What is truly holding this team back is the aging combination of Bradie James and Keith Brooking.
It is very clear to me that during the week when the opposing team is preparing and game planning for the Cowboys, they see James and Brooking on tape and decide to attack that weakness. If I was a offensive coordinator, I know I would attack those guys whenever they are on the field. Both of them are lacking the speed to keep up in coverage and TE's eat them alive.
James and Brooking are really holding this defense back. Yes I would love to have a ballhawk in the secondary, but that is something we need to address next year. Right now we an option coming back that could possibly replace James and Brooking on the field.
Bruce Carter, We need you
When the Cowboys spent their 2nd round pick on first round talent Bruce Carter a lot of the fan base questioned the pick. During the long cold winter months, I predicted and spoke up about the need of adding another inside linebacker. What truly caught me off guard with the Carter pick was the timing of the selection. Personally I thought the Cowboys would look for a inside linebacker in the mid to late rounds of the draft. That was the most shocking part for the Cowboys fans, that we drafted another linebacker that high.
Last December, I wrote a fan shot about Bruce Carter. http://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2010/12/16/1880864/bruce-carter-olb-from-unc-maybe-a-guy-we-should-take-a-look-at-this
The fan shot was basically meant to show the BTB community that Carter could become a real bargain for us in the draft. I never mocked Carter to us, or had him in my top 50 big board mainly because I never had watched Carter play. I really didn't catch too many UNC games last year, but knew the guy was a beast. It's pretty cool that I managed to pick out a draft bargain the Cowboys drafted. TARHEEL PAUL was onto him and he was right about him. Even though Carter has not played a down for the Cowboys yet, his stock is extremely high.
In the 2nd round there were so many great prospects available, but arguably none of them had first round talent like Bruce Carter. When we were on the clock I felt the Cowboys would draft Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea. Brandon Harris would have been my pick, the need for a cornerback and his talent just fit us extremely well in my opinion. That was just the opinion that was forming in my brain at the time. Instead the Cowboys went with their draft board, which is never a bad idea.
There are a few different draft theories out there. One is that you draft for BPA, best player available. Looking back at previous drafts, sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn't. The advantage of drafting BPA is that you load your football team with the best possible talent. The downside of drafting BPA is that you never really acquire the possible pieces a team needs to get better at certain positions.
The second theory is drafting for need. Drafting for need allows a team to fix and plug holes on their roster by drafting a player at that position of need. The draft is great for this in many ways and teams that draft for need end up solving huge problems that they face. The downside of drafting for need is that sometimes you reach for a player over a more talented player at another position who could have more of an impact.
Is there a clear cut theory? No, there never will be. I think that combining the two theories into one is theoretically the best solution. When you combine both theories, you come to a good middle ground. Honestly, that is exactly what the Cowboys did with Bruce Carter. They had a clear need at the inside linebacker position with two aging players and only Sean Lee behind them. Bruce Carter also happened to be a clear cut first round talent, if not for his injury Carter would have been a top 25 pick. The Cowboys found the perfect blend of draft theory and with their success of Sean Lee, appear to have finally avoided their 2nd round failures of the past.
Sure a cornerback, guard or safety would have solved a big problem for the Cowboys in the depth and talent department at each position, but you cannot fault the Cowboys for drafting Bruce Carter there. We all know how frustrating it can be drafting another linebacker, I feel your pain guys. Barbie Carpenter, Jason Williams and Brandon Williams were are epic failures. Anthony Spencer, another first round linebacker from 2007, appears to be on the road to redemption and is saving his career from entering BUST status.
The thing is, Carter isn't like those other linebackers. Barbie Carpenter was never a first round pick, maybe not even a 3rd round pick. Jason Williams was a unintelligent player from a small school and was playing out of position his entire time. He should have been a pass rusher, not a project at inside linebacker. Brandon Williams may have turned into a productive player had he not been injured in that capacity. Once a speed guy loses his burst as a pass rusher, his career is basically over.
Carter is a flat out stud, how else could you describe this kid physically? He is not in the same class as the guys who failed previously as Cowboys linebacker draft picks. Carter is the real deal, the complete package as a NFL player. Butch Davis, Carter's coach at UNC, talked him up every time he had the chance too. Carter has real production in a real college conference. His physical tools are off the charts. His mentality and character are in the RKG mold. Many of us were not happy at first with this draft pick, including myself. But when you sit down and really look the selection over, Carter was a great pick.
Here is what I found on Carter's bio page on the official UNC football teams webpage.
Outstanding athlete with ability to make plays all over the field • Started 43 career games • Blocked seven kicks in his career, including six punts • Ranked No. 1 in ESPN.com's 2010 workout warrior list • Set the record for a UNC linebacker with a power clean of 374 and a vertical jump of 40.5 inches • Also benches 440 pounds, squats 605 pounds and was clocked in the 40-yard dash at 4.39 • Entering the season, he ranked the No. 1 senior outside linebacker prospect in the 2011 NFL Draft by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. • Had season-ending knee surgery to reconstruct his left ACL at the conclusion of the regular season.
When you set the record with a power clean of 374, a vertical jump of 40.5 inches, bench a 440, squat 605 pounds and clock in with a 4.39 40 yard dash, you are the real deal. Of course I know physical attributes and numbers don't necessarily translate into on the field success, but Bruce Carter just oozes talent. He could be beast like, he could be scary good.
Teams in this division are scared of playing against Bruce Carter down the road and know his potential. Check out this breakdown of Carter back in February from the Giants SBNation website. http://www.bigblueview.com/2011/2/4/1950871/2011-nfl-draft-prospect-profile-bruce-carter-olb-north-carolina
From CBS Sports.
Possessing a brand of eye-popping pure athleticism reminiscent of former top-10 selections Aaron Curry (No. 4 overall pick in 2009, Seattle Seahawks) and Keith Rivers (No. 9 overall pick in 2008, Cincinnati Bengals), Carter entered the 2010 season among the highest-touted prospects in the country. Unfortunately, a disappointing senior season and late knee injury that required surgery now cloud his draft status. ...When healthy, Carter is among the most explosive prospects in the 2011 draft.
Aaron Curry and Keith Rivers have been, let's face it, busts. But just alone saying that Carter has the "eye-popping pure athleticism" comparable to top 10 selections says a lot to me. Landing a top ten talent in the 2nd round is an amazing accomplishment by the Cowboys front office. In two consecutive drafts the Cowboys have secured arguably the top two inside linebacker prospects in the past two drafts. When you actually think about that, it's pretty goddamn amazing.
Bruce Carter has been on the Physically Unable To Perform (PUP), for the entirety of his brief Cowboys career. He is expecting to suit up for the first time, in his first NFL game, next Sunday at home against the St. Louis Rams. Carter must be extremely excited to finally get onto the field for the first time since tearing his ACL last December. http://espn.go.com/blog/dallas/cowboys/post/_/id/4684843/bruce-carter-rehab-takes-a-step
Carter, the Cowboys’ second-round pick, is eyeing a return against St. Louis on Oct. 23.
Carter said wearing the pads for the first time since last November felt strange. He is not wearing a brace and does not expect to wear one when he begins practicing.
"My shoulders got kind of tired," he said, "but my helmet and everything else was good."
Carter has been in the defensive and special teams meetings since training camp.
"I know definitely special teams I can play that, but I’ll probably get in some kind of sub package [on defense] and not jump into the whole thing right off the gun to work my way in," Carter said.
Bruce Carter is needed this season even though we expected him not really to contribute until next season. The sad part is, James and Brooking have been pretty awful and we need Carter to play some snaps for us this season. His speed and athleticism is exactly what this defense needs, especially at the linebacker position opposite Sean Lee. Remember how Sean Lee came along slowly, but towards the end of the season was actually becoming an actual contributor on this defense? Hopefully Carter can give us that same type of boost. Carter can be a key player on packages, especially passing downs. Having the ability to use him in coverage will be a big advantage going forward into the season.
One area Carter can really help us out is on special teams. Carter had 7 career blocked kicks while at UNC and was really a special teams ace. In my 20 plus years of watching this lovely game, I have never seen a kid so good at blocking kicks. Whether it's a punt or field goal, Carter is a threat to block it every single time. Special teams is an area overlooked by many fans around the NFL, but special teams is very important to a teams success. Having the ability to use Carter on special teams is a definite plus going forward.
This year we really cannot expect that much production from Carter, he missed the entire preseason recovering from his ACL injury and will be behind, even more behind Sean Lee from last year who missed a bunch of time recovering from his injuries. Even if Carter can just contribute on special teams and certain packages, that would be a step in the right direction. The ultimate dream is that Carter comes in and in time plays more snaps in the base defense, thus keeping James and Brooking off the field. James and Brooking have become a clear liability in my opinion and really scare me to death with the possibility of having to cover the Patriots tight ends this Sunday.
By next year, both of them should be off the team. The long term goal here is to pair Carter with Lee, forming Bruce Lee. Our starting linebackers, assuming Spencer is resigned, which is looking like more and more of a possibility as the season progresses, would be DeMarcus Ware, Bruce Carter, Sean Lee and Anthony Spencer. I hate to be a homer but that linebacker lineup would possibly be the best in the entire NFL.
The future of this LB core is bright, supernova bright. If Carter can transfer his success from college over to the NFL we will be in amazing shape. Having two outside pass rushers in Ware and Spencer would give us a great pass rush. Having two amazingly athletic inside linebackers would give us sideline to sideline linebackers who can cover ground, tackle and hold up in coverage extremely well. I know I may be a homer with Bruce Carter here, but the kid just looks like a stud, a beast in the making.
Since day one, when Sean Lee was drafted I supported him like I am supporting Bruce Carter. Lee, along with Dez Bryant, ended up being one of the steals of the entire 2010 draft and is playing at a Pro Bowl level. Hopefully I am right about Bruce Carter and if I am right about him, we will have stud linebackers at all four positions.
We are all waiting for the Bruce Lee pairing.........and it may not be far away from happening.