Last April Cal junior Andre Carter (below) was likened to Jevon Kearse—which was a good thing. Kearse (a.k.a. the Freak) had just helped take the Titans to the Super Bowl, and scouts were boosting the stock of defensive ends who, like the dominating 6'4", 255-pound Carter, fit the Freakish mold. In 2000, however, Kearse's play slipped. Then at February's Indianapolis combine, Carter weighed in at a mere 249 pounds. Both developments make his prospects in Saturday's proceedings mixed, according to a survey of websites assessing NFL talent.
The businesslike gbnreport.com, run by draft guru Colin Lindsay, has Carter going 18th. So does profootballinsider.net, which relies on agents and NFL insiders. "Questions about his weight have him falling," the site says. The avoirdupois issue, however, doesn't faze Brian DeLucia, an NFL consultant for Fox. His nfldraftdigest.rivals.com has Carter going ninth. Even more optimistic is whiz kid Robert Davis, 20, of footballsfuture.com, who, having pored over videos, labels Carter a potential No. 1 and proclaims, "Carter's combination of skills, personality and work ethic rivals that of [Browns defensive end] Courtney Brown." Confused? So is Russ Lande of realnfl.com, a site that in the first round of four mock drafts has Carter going, respectively, ninth, ninth, 11th and undrafted. Says Lande, a former Rams scout, of Carter, "He was frustrating to grade.... He does not consistently produce at his ability level." (SI's Dr. Z says Carter will be the eighth pick, by the Bears [page 50].)
What does this mean? Perhaps nothing. Consider Andre's father, Rubin. Back in '75 Rubin was picked in the fifth round by the Broncos, became a starter immediately and was a fixture at nosetackle for 12 seasons.