In this follow-up series to our coverage of the 2011 NFL NFL Draft, we will profile the players the Indianapolis Colts selected. For most of these players, SB Nation has a college blog that has a strong knowledge of what the player can and cannot do. We will solicit those blogs and their writers for input on our newest member to the Colts organization, and get a sense of how they can fit in with where the team is going.
For today's post, we chat with Sean Keeley, editor of SB Nation's Syracuse blog, Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician. Sean is going to talk to use about Indy's fourth round pick in the 2011 NFL draft: Delone Carter, RB.
Take it away, Sean!
Character Issues, Schmaracter Schmissues
If there's a red flag that goes up about Delone during his college career, it's the incident that caused him to get almost kicked out of the university this past summer. It's easy to read the details on the whole thing and draw the conclusion that he's got "character issues."
I assure you, that's simply not the case. And this isn't a matter of a Syracuse guy sticking up for another Syracuse guy. The incident was quite simply the exception to the rule and one that Carter showed massive remorse for.
More from Sean on Delone Carter after the jump.
Here's all you need to know. One night during a Syracuse snowstorm, Delone was in the passenger seat of an SUV when some random kids started chucking snowballs at the car. Carter got out of the car, confronted the kid whom he thought threw the snowballs and allegedly punched him once. Not exactly the best decision-making of his life, for sure. Delone got booted from SU and the team, pending the outcome of the case. He was immediately remorseful and apologetic, even as the accuser's lawyer turned the whole event into a bit of a grandstand against a very public defendant.
Ultimately Delone returned to the program. He never caused an issue afterward just as he had never caused an issue beforehand. Incident aside, he was a model player and student at SU and if you asked any Syracuse fan to choose one player to represent the Orange over the past four seasons, many of them would probably select Delone.
Don't look the incident as a red flag. Look at it as a blip on an otherwise solid resume.
Say Goodbye To Fumbles
Maybe he won't run a 4.3 40. Maybe he won't run for 200 yards on a regular basis. And maybe he won't lead the NFL in all-purpose yardage. But Delone Carter will not fumble. Put the ball in his hands and you can be 99% sure that it's not coming out until the play is over. Carter has the third-most carries the Big East last season and he never lost a fumble all year (he did fumble once but it was recovered).
Pass-Catching Wasn't Really His Thing
It's true, Carter doesn't have a reputation for catching passes out of the backfield. Then again, he was never really asked to a Syracuse. Delone was the feature back last year but the Orange sported a New Orleans Saints-type backfield for most of the year. Carter was out Pierre Thomas while Antwon Bailey was our Reggie Bush. Bailey was much more likely to be the recipient of a pre-planned pass in the flat as he's a little speedier than the bulky Carter. Bailey caught 62 balls over the past two seasons, compared to Delone's 19. Meanwhile, Carter rushed for over 2,000 yards in that time while Bailey rushed for around 850.
The Injury Bug
While he remained fairly healthy his senior season (only a leg bruise after the last game of the season kept him out of practice), Carter does have a history of major injuries that can't be brushed aside. After an extremely promising freshman season, Carter dislocated his hip during spring practice in 2007, missing the entire season. His 2008 season was hampered by a hamstring injury. Just when it seemed like his potential was going to be lost forever to injuries, he turned it all around in 2009. Timed with the departure of Curtis Brinkley, Carter regained his spot atop the depth chart and took over the Syracuse running game for good. He leaves us as the No. 3 rusher in Syracuse history, ahead of Larry Csonka, Floyd Little and Ernie Davis.
In closing, Delone Carter isn't going to step in a replace Joseph Addai. More likely, he can grow into an extremely serviceable North-South running back who, when coupled with a speedier backfield-mate, can provide some solid, dependable offense. I can't say he'll get you six yards a carry all game. But I'm pretty confident if you need him to get you two very tough yards on third down, he's a guy who can trust. I mean, have you seen that guy's biceps?
By the way, thanks from Orange Nation for your continued support of our program. Between Dwight Freeney, Taj Smith and now Delone, you guys just overtook the Baltimore Ravens for the NFL team with the most SU players on your roster. Hope it keeps working out for you.
Dwight Freeney alone is enough for any Colts fan to love Syracuse. Don't forget that the Orange also gave us the greatest wide receiver of his generation: Marvin Harrison.
Thanks to Sean for a great write-up on Delone Carter. The more I hear about him, the more I like him.