The New York Giants wanted Lorenzo Carter badly enough that GM Dave Gettleman admitted trying to trade up in the 2018 NFL Draft before selecting Carter with the 66th overall pick.
Why did they want him so much? Let’s take a closer look as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.
2017 season in review
Carter had 62 tackles, including 8.5 for loss and 4.5 quarterback sacks, for Georgia. He caused and recovered three fumbles, blocked a field goal and had 16 quarterback pressures in 15 games. He finished four-year career at Georgia with 14.5 sacks in 48 games.
The Giants finished 30th in the NFL in sacks (27) and Adjusted Sack Rate (5.0) last season. Then, they went and traded away defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, whose 8.5 sacks led the team in 2017.
James Bettcher was a master at creating pressure in a variety of ways while defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals. He will be asked to do the same with the Giants. Olivier Vernon is moving from full-time 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker. The Giants hope that linebackers Alec Ogletree and Kareem Martin can help provide pressure. When healthy, Landon Collins has shown the ability to be effective when blitzing.
Truth is, though, the Giants really haven’t done much this offseason to improve their pass rush personnel-wise. Except draft Carter in Round 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft (66th overall) and hope that he can turn his physical gifts and what GM Dave Gettleman refers to as “unseen production” into real production that makes him an edge-rushing force in the NFL.
“Who doesn’t want to draft a kid that has 58,000 sacks?,” Gettleman said after selecting Carter. “What you have to appreciate is his unseen production. If he is flying off the edge, he is creating pressure.
“Sometimes you are looking at guys that create plays for others. You have to look at that. That is part of it. At the end of the day, he does not have ginormous sack numbers, not a lot of these guys do. A lot of these kids don’t have pass rush plans or pass rush variety. Our job is to teach them that. Lorenzo has great speed off the edge. He is explosive. We really believe he is going to help be part of that pressure.”
The scouting report on Carter from The NFL Draft Report compares him to Arizona Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones, who led the NFL with 17 sacks in 2017. The report is littered with phrases that make you see why the Giants were interested:
“ ... excellent explosiveness coming off the snap.”
“ ... can chase the ball down from sideline to sideline and utilizes his burst to be disruptive going through the gaps to flush out the quarterback (30 pressures in his last 28 games).”
“ ... this is a player blessed with great agility, balance and flexibility.”
“ ... very good desire and effort closing on plays in front of him, and possesses the second gear needed to make plays at the opposite side of the field.”
“ ... excellent sideline-to-sideline range and ease of movement.”
“ ... No scout is concerned about Carter’s ability to be an impact player vs. the run.”
“ ... shows explosion in his initial step and the ability to close and push the pocket. He takes good angles in his backside pursuit and runs with that explosive burst and fine timing to get a great jump on the ball. He closes with desire and is very good at shortening the field by taking proper angles.”
The Giants know they need pass rushers, and they will give Carter every chance to prove that he can be one.
Carter will likely compete with former Cardinal Kareem Martin for snaps opposite Vernon, perhaps even working in a rotation of sorts to keep all three edge players as fresh as possible.
“He’s an outside edge pass rusher,” Gettleman said. “We need pass rushers, every team needs pass rushers – c’mon.”