As a native of Montreal and a fan of the Allouettes, I've spent a lot of time watching Duron Carter this season. Carter has played two seasons in the CFL, and it seems like he will make the jump to the NFL this season. In recent years, CFL receivers who make the jump to the NFL do not usually succeed, but those receivers never had the physical gifts that Duron Carter possesses. To get a better understanding of Carter, here is a scouting report on Carter (used from the template I use for draft players with some modifications for this case).
Weight: 210 lbs
Pro Career Statistics (18 Game Season)
2013: 49 catches, 909 Yards, 5 Touchdowns
2014: 75 Catches, 1030 Yards, 7 Touchdowns
- Athletically gifted with his size, strength and athleticism.
- Explosive player who can turn a small play into a big gain.
- Can break tackles easily as a runner.
- Will fight through traffic on short routes to get the ball.
- He has good hands and has the ability to make tough catches in any position.
- Good deep threat and uses speed well down the field.
- Great competitor who plays his best in crunch time moments and in rivalry games (Argonauts especially).
- Needs to learn how to better locate the football, on top of catching balls at its highest point.
- Needs to become a more saavy route runner and create separation from his defenders.
- Considering his size and strength, he should win the majority of his 50/50 balls. He does not.
- Very little experience in a NFL pro-style offense. (Note: CFL offenses have 12 players, almost always two offensive downs and slotbacks run up to the line. It's a different type of offense with most of the plays coming out of shotgun. It isn't an easy transition and it's why almost every CFL receiver who have attempted to jump to the NFL has failed.)
- No major injuries in his two year CFL career.
- Played most of his freshman season in Ohio State, before being ruled academically ineligible and unable to play in the Rose Bowl.
Duron Carter has the ability to be one of the first CFL receivers to have an impact in the NFL. Andy Fantuz, who is nearly identical to Carter in size and strength attempted a jump to the NFL and failed. It isn't easy.
Carter is an athletic, physical receiver who showed big improvements in his two years in Montreal. However, he did not take the league by storm and wasn't even starting on his own team for awhile. It took Carter some time to crack the starting lineup, and once he did, his play was marred by inconsistency. He could either have a 4 catch 45 yard performance (like against Winnipeg in Week 9) or an 11 catch 181 yard performance (like against Toronto in Week 19). He was never the #1 threat on the offense, but rather used in a deep threat role and was able to beat teams using his athleticism.
On top of his physical gifts, Carter has good hands, and his physicality allows him to break a lot of tackles from smaller defensive backs. He is an explosive player who will be used a lot of on screen plays because of his ability to get yards after catch. His speed and explosiveness make him effective as a deep threat receiver and despite Montreal having a conservative passing attack, they love to take shots to Duron Carter.
Carter has good hands and he will fight through traffic to get the ball. However, he won't win most 50/50 balls. He shows the ability to fight for the ball but just cannot finish with the catch, as evident in the Week 9 Winnipeg matchup on a few occasions. Carter must also improve on his route running and needs to create separation from his defenders. He needs to start playing more to his size.
Overall, he's a raw receiver with outstanding physical gifts. He needs to learn the subtities of the game and must play to his size. He filled his #2 deep threat role with the Montreal Allouettes admirably and was a good competitor who fought hard in big games.
NFL Comparison - Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans
NFL Ceiling - #2 Receiver (50 Catch, 700-850 Yard Type of Season)
NFL Floor - Out of the NFL before the Season Starts
Fit in the Colts Offense
I would find it hard to believe that Carter could have an impact on the Colts next season. For his first season in the NFL, he's a bottom of the depth chart kind of guy, fighting for the #4 receiver spot (or maybe #3, and that's a big maybe, if Reggie leaves). Carter has the skill and talent to be a starting NFL receiver, but because of his inexperience in a NFL pro-style offense, he isn't a plug and play candidate. He'll need to develop in this system and slowly build up into a starter. He would, however, become the biggest receiver the Colts had in their history (with perhaps Sean Dawkins).
For those believing that his size would benefit the Colts in the redzone, that is true to a certain extent. He needs to work on catching the ball at its highest point and to win the majority of those 50/50 balls. He did not do that with consistency in the CFL and must be able to do that in the NFL.
If the Colts remain patient with Carter, he could have a nice impact in Year 2 and even move into the starting lineup, but his inexperience and his raw ability will keep him from the starting lineup in Year 1.
Screenshot Examples (Week 9 vs Winnipeg Blue Bombers)
Play #1 -- 1st & 10 | 2nd Quarter | 8:03 Remaining
On this play, Carter is lined up as the right wide receiver in a 5 receiver package.
As the play starts, Carter takes a couple of steps forward and then returns to the ball. He is the primary in a wide receiver screen play and the two slotbacks are in front there to block.
Carter has made the reception and now he has his eyes upfield and now he needs to gain some yards.
Carter uses his great strength to rip away from a defensive back. This contact is made two yards past the line of scrimmage.
After he breaks away from the initial contact, Carter is able to break away from another tackler (indicated by the arrow). This second contact takes places four yards past the line of scrimmage.
After breaking away from the second tackler, he is then faced with a third tackler (indicated by the arrow) which he is able to fight off but Carter is pushed out of bounds. All in all he is able to get eight yards on the play, breaking two tackles in the process.
Overall, on this play what we see is that Carter is a physical player who will take tacklers head-on and fight against them. We see some hesitation from Carter on the play and he should have gotten upfield quicker, but he still got eight yards, which is a positive play.
Play #2 -- 1st & 10 | 2nd Quarter | 4:15 Remaining
On this play, we see that Carter is again lined up at the right wide receiver spot. The Allouettes are in a five wide receiver set with #2 coming out of the backfield.
As the play starts, we see that #2 is getting the ball via a hand-off. However, keep an eye on Duron Carter and see what he will do.
Carter has come back to the ball and as indicated by the smaller box, he is receiving the ball off a reverse. As you can tell by the Blue Bombers' defense, they are not in good position to defend this and Carter should have a lot of field to work with.
Carter is now on the other side of the field, with plenty of field to work with. He has two blockers in front of him.
Carter has followed his blockers nicely, but has two defenders closing in on him. Let's see what he does.
Carter is able to break away from the standing defender, and made another one (the player on the ground) miss. He is about to cross the first down line.
Carter has broken free from the defenders and now has plenty of field ahead of him. He has the safety chasing him down but he has already accumulated at least 20 yards due to his tackle breaking ability and his vision as a runner.
Carter gets 28 yards on the play.
Overall, what we see is a patient runner who keeps his eyes down the field and when defenders close in, he shows the ability to break tackles and pick up speed quickly. He makes plays after the catch, which is why the Allouettes liked to get the ball in his hands.