Miami Hurricanes 2022 Path to the NFL Draft: S Amari Carter

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Not too long ago, hard-hitting safeties were considered a positive at both the NFL and collegiate level. However with the increase of targeting penalties and unnecessary roughness, this trait has become harmful for players and teams. As it relates to NFL hopeful, Amari Carter, penalties of this variety unfortunately put a damper on his otherwise quality career.

And as he hopes to make moves and carve out a spot on a team in the pros, Carter will emphasize other positive traits to his draft profile such as positional versatility, grittiness, selflessness, and a high character leader both on and off the field. Captain Carter is someone NFL teams should take a chance on and here’s why.

2022 NFL Draft Ranking* – 71st Safety

(Position Ranking based on The Athletic, Dane Brugler, 2022 Draft Guide)*
Height: 5’11” (14th Percentile)
Weight: 200lbs (29th Percentile)
Arm Length: 31 5/8” (51st Percentile)
Wingspan: 76 1/2” (51st Percentile)
Hand: 9 1/8” (36th Percentile)

Career Statistics:
2017: 13GP, 26 Tackles, 2 Sacks, 1 FF
2018: 12GP/2GS, 12 Tackles, 3 TFLs, 1 Sack, 3 PD
2019: 13GP/4GS, 37 Tackles, 1.5 TFLs, 1 Sack, 1 FF, 2 PD, 1 INT
2020: 10GP/9GS, 53 Tackles, 1 PD
2021: 10GP/9GS, 45 Tackles, 3 TFLs, 0.5 Sack, 2 PD, 1 INT
CAREER: 173 Tackles, 9.5 TFLs, 4.5 Sacks, 2 FF, 8 PD, 2 INT

Pro Football Focus (PFF) Grades
– Overall 2017 PFF Grade: 66.8
– Overall 2018 PFF Grade: 73.2
– Overall 2019 PFF Grade: 61.0
– Overall 2020 PFF Grade: 52.8
– Overall 2021 PFF Grade: 62.5, 212 Box, 128 Slot CB, 54 DLine, 50 Free Safety, 16 Wide CB

Pro Day Results:

40-Yard Dash: 4.64 (20th Percentile)
Bench: 14 reps (23rd Percentile)
3-Cone: 7.14 (26th Percentile)
Shuttle: 4.28 (32nd Percentile)
Vertical Jump: 39.5” (89th Percentile)
Broad Jump: 11’0” (96h Percentile)

O’ Captain, My Altruistic Captain

Carter is another Florida product who opted to stay in state at Miami. A three-star out of Palms Beach Garden, Carter loves boats and fishing, so staying in South Florida allowed him to keep up with his hobbies. However, as his career progressed at the U, he proved his value on steering another type of ship as he became a captain due to his leadership skills.

It is that leadership on and off the field that could give Carter an opportunity with an NFL program. Besides boating and football, Carter displays his high character in many areas, including through a non-profit organization that he started, called Survive Foundation, which helps people suffering from hunger and homelessness.

While many took advantage of new NIL policies this past year in order to cash in as a student-athlete, Carter’s purpose was not for his own profit. Rather, Carter decided to partner with an online shop in a NIL deal through personally designed merchandise. All proceeds were redirected to the Survive Foundation. In his spare time, Carter has also been on the front lines in underserved communities helping fight hunger and homelessness.

These selfless traits transfer to the gridiron. Carter always put the team first by contributing in any way he could. For example, this past season, he moved to a Striker position (former Miami co-defensive coordinator, Ephraim Banda, described Striker as a hybrid defensive player who can play in the box safety, as well as slot and strong-side linebacker) after predominantly playing safety throughout his career.

Even more, the multi-year captain, who had the chance to declare for the NFL Draft last year, stated his decision to return was selfless in order to provide experience in a young safety room (James Williams, Avantae Williams, Kamren Kinchens) and be a leader for them.

Carter’s selflessness during gameplay and intangibles on and off the field, will be the key areas coaches and scouts look at when determining whether to add him to their locker room. Being team-first was on full display based on his pre-snap distribution, which also helped show off some of his versatility. In 2021, according to PFF, Carter lined up in the box on 212 snaps, slot CB on 128 snaps, DLine on 54 snaps, Free Safety for 50 snaps, and Wide CB for 16 snaps. He also has ample experience on special teams.

One of his strengths also is his achilles’ heel: physicality. Carter is a hard-hitting open-field tackler, but it comes with drawbacks. Namely, he has been flagged multiple times during his career for targeting and unnecessary roughness penalties. Some of the flags are also due to being late on tackles and needing to refine tackling technique.

Thus, it will be interesting to see how he is able to adapt to pace of play at the NFL level. In coverage, he could be a bit more fluid, especially in deep assignments as he only had two career interceptions (unlikely to excel in single high).

Even though Carter showed capability to play in the box as a striker and the positional versatility will help his stock in a league that is becoming more positionless, he projects more as a pure strong safety. To that end, his vertical jump and broad jump figures at Miami’s Pro Day graded in the 89th and 96th percentile, respectively.

Overall, however, his instincts and style of play project best in a predominantly special teams role in return coverage on both sides and FG/XP alignments.

Strengths/Positives

  • Leadership, Multi-Year Captain
  • Positional Versatility
  • High Character On-and-Off the field (team first selflessness)
  • Ample Experience (57 Games Played)
  • Athleticism, especially in Jumping testing

Weaknesses/Negatives

  • Targeting and Unnecessary Roughness Penalties
  • Tackling Consistency
  • Ball Skills (only two career interceptions)
  • Will be 24-years old rookie season

Best NFL Fits (Undrafted Free Agent): Teams that could use Special Teams bodies

NFL Comparisons: Jaquan Johnson, Larry Izzo

Bottom Line:

There are some areas of concern in Carter’s game as far as how it will translate at the next level. However, Carter was named a multi-year captain for a reason as he exhibits plenty of intangibles on-and-off the field that make him worthy of taking a shot on. His style of play projects best in a special teams role, at least to get his foot in the door with NFL organizations.

Draft Night Projection: (Undrafted)

Undrafted Free Agent to the Buffalo Bills: Current Bills’ specialist, Jaquan Johnson, had some overlap with Amari at the collegiate level and Carter would be in an ideal situation under Jaquan’s tutelage.

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