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2011 NFL Draft Picks: Cowboys Select LB Bruce Carter From North Carolina, Can He Play Right Away?

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The Cowboys select Bruce Carter from North Carolina
The Cowboys select Bruce Carter from North Carolina

In the second round, with the 40th pick, the Dallas Cowboys selected linebacker Bruce Carter from North Carolina. Carter was a guy with a very high-talent rating, but his draft prospects took a blow because of injury. He's a medical gamble to play right away. He has big talent, perhaps the Cowboys new defensive line coach Brian Baker had some inside info on Carter from his stint at UNC.

Carter tore his ACL towards the end of the season and this dropped him from what was likely a first-round grade. Mayock claims he was a top-15 talent before the knee injury. Also, he's a special teams guy who blocked more kicks than anybody at North Carolina.

Here's what Wes Bunting says about him:

One of the more gifted athletes you're going to see at the position. Possesses a long, athletic-looking frame and is at his best when asked to click and close and make plays in pursuit. Showcases great explosion once he locates the football and quickly is able to get from point A to point B. Exhibits impressive length and range when asked to break down and wrap up on contact.

Russ Lande has this snippet about Carter from early yesterday.

Over the past month, however, we have heard that [Cater] has passed many team physicals and is expected to be 100 percent for the 2011 season.

As a result, we are hearing he could be the surprise pick in today's first round. Since the injury, he has been regarded by most draft experts as a second-round pick who could even slide into the third. The favorable health report gives him a shot at slipping into Round 1.

It will be interesting to see what Dallas does with him, but at his current size I'm guessing WILB. Maybe he'll bulk up and go at OLB some with his speed and explosiveness. Can't wait to hear exactly how they'll choose to use him.

The Cowboys took a gamble on a guy who has big talent but slid because of injury. This looks like long-term thinking because he may not be ready to go right away. But everybody seems to agree that the kid is a prospect for great play when healthy.