It has been a very long time since an Army football player was taken in the first round of the NFL Draft — 76 years, to be exact. Andre Carter II is hoping to change that this April.
Until recently, the 6-7, 260-pound edge rusher wasn’t even sure if he’d be able to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL. West Point graduates are usually required to spend five years on active duty after graduation. But thanks to a recent policy change, he’ll be able to push back his military commitment to until after his professional football career comes to an end, whenever that may be.
“The current policy for us is that you basically delay your service commitment until you’re done playing in the NFL,” he told PFT Live. “Then you’ll go five years active duty and three in the reserves.”
With his attention now squarely on a future in the NFL, Carter will look to impress the scouts who have gathered in Indianapolis for this week’s NFL Combine.
MORE: Everything you need to know ahead of the 2023 NFL Combine
Here’s a look at what makes him such an exciting prospect, and where he could be taken in this year’s NFL Draft:
Andre Carter II scouting report
Carter is a big dude. The Missouri City, Texas, native has more than enough size and strength to be a real handful for NFL offensive linemen. He’s also fast, and he uses his rare combination of speed and size to wreak havoc all over the field.
Unranked as a recruit out of Westbury Christian High School in Houston, Carter switched from tight end to outside linebacker at West Point, and it immediately paid off. In 2021, he racked up 15.5 sacks, second-most in all of the FBS, behind only Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr. Anderson is projected as a lock to be taken in the top five at this year’s draft, which shows what kind of elite company Carter is in.
But after his 2021 season, his stats dropped significantly this past year. He only mustered three sacks in 2022, and his total tackles dropped from 44 to 37. Some of that can probably be explained by opponents double-teaming him, but the sharp drop in production was enough to create doubt among scouts and draft experts.
MORE: Will Jalen Carter or Will Anderson Jr. be the first defensive player taken at 2023 NFL Draft?
The good news is he’ll have a chance to change some minds at the NFL Combine this week. His measurements are off the charts; he has a 6-10 wingspan, which is sure to make defensive coaches sit up and take notice. He also has the potential to impress in agility and speed drills.
Carter certainly isn’t as polished a prospect as someone like Anderson, but he has all the physical tools to make a big impact at the highest level. He is projected to be selected in the second or third round, with an outside chance of movingup to the first round with an excellent combine performance.
Andre Carter II mock draft
In his latest mock draft, The Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer predicted Carter will be selected by Jacksonville late in the second round.
“Should the Jaguars try to move Josh Allen in a trade, they would need some edge-rushing help for 2022 No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker,” Iyer wrote. “Carter is a productive sack artist with some freakish qualities.”
Here’s where several experts have Carter coming off the board in this year’s draft:
Andre Carter II highlights
Another intriguing Day 2 Edge to watch is #Army Andre Carter II.
Recruited as a WR originally.
He has the raw physical tools scouts love.
6’7 260lbs. A prospect who will need to time/coaching to develop.
15.5 sacks in 2021 👀
— Jared Tokarz (@JaredNFLDraft) January 23, 2023
Two (more) names to keep an eye on this weekend at the Combine @TCUFootball‘s Quentin Johnston (WR)@ArmyWP_Football‘s Andre Carter II (EDGE)@BuckyBrooks | @LT_21 pic.twitter.com/dOwWStHaI2
— NFL Total Access (@NFLTotalAccess) February 28, 2023
Only offers Army’s Andre Carter II had coming out of HS were from FCS level, mainly Ivy League schools. How was @andrecarter2 a zero star prospect four years ago? That’ll be a fun storyline on draft weekend next April. Can’t coach stuff like this:#TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️ pic.twitter.com/qiXRC9u44e
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) August 18, 2022