Getting an offer from one NFL team as an undrafted free agent is an absolute dream come true. So to miss out on the once-in-a-lifetime privilege to hear your name called on draft night, but to have that followed up with free agent contract offers from two-thirds of the NFL’s franchises has to net feelings of unspeakable excitement.
Such was the case of Cowboys hopeful Ron’Dell Carter.
After beginning his college playing days at Rutgers, Carter ventured to James Madison in search of more playing time in lieu of of limited action. There, he erupted into opposing offenses’ backfields, and onto the radars of numerous NFL scouts.
He started in all 13 games as a redshirt junior for the Dukes, registering 58 tackles (13 for loss) to complement 7.5 sacks. His senior campaign was even better. With more experience under his belt, Carter proved to be a man amongst boys, notching 66 takedowns with 27 tackles for a loss, and 12 sacks (T-3rd in school history).
Phewww this James Madison defense is fast.. penetration on the front side of the jet. Fantastic pursuit. Finished off by star defensive end Ron’Dell Carter (@rc5____ ). One of the future draft picks on that defense. This has been fun to watch. pic.twitter.com/EEtX5sQddn— Ryan Roberts (@RiseNDraft) December 3, 2019
The performance resulted in a Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year award in 2019, as well as a finalist’s nomination for the Buck Buchanan award.
He cashed in on a $145,000 guarantee to sign with Dallas (which is massive for an undrafted signee), and was moved to a 3-technique DT under Mike Nolan. However, Carter was relegated to the practice squad after just missing the final cut. He inked a deal with the Colts days later, but was subsequently waived by Indianapolis just two weeks afterwards, re-signing with the ‘Boys the following day.
This year, Carter is hoping his name survives through the training camp gauntlet, and is included in his coaches’ final roster list. He’s got solid girth at 6’3, 269 lbs, and supplements that with a high IQ, and natural knack for pass-rushing.
But he’s got some stiff competition to contend with on the depth chart, including: Bradlee Anae, Tarell Basham, Dorance Armstrong, Osa Odighizuwa and Chauncey Golston.
Carter is certainly talented, and he clearly possesses the desire to stay in Dallas. Let’s see if he's able to substantiate adequately going forward.