According to Demetrius Harvey, the Jaguars have shown interest in Florida defensive lineman Zach Carter, who recently met with the team on a pre-draft visit.
Carter, 23, was a four-star recruit out of Tampa's Hillsborough High in 2018. The redshirt senior earned more and more playing time for the Gators each year as an underclassman and entered the starting lineup for his final two seasons in Gainesville. Carter aligned at multiple spots for the Gators, mainly between the B and C gaps at 3-tech and 5-tech. During his time at Florida, Carter racked up 102 total tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 17 sacks, eight passes defended, and two forced fumbles. In his final and most productive season, he tallied 31 total tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, two passes defended, and one forced fumble.
Carter performed well during Senior Bowl practices and had a reasonably impressive showing at the NFL combine. With his improved play as a Senior and a solid pre-draft process, Carter's stock is on the rise. At the Combine, Carter measured 6'3 1/2" and weighed in at 282 pounds. He has 33 3/8" arms, an 81" wingspan, and 10 3/8" hands. He ran a 4.99 40 yard dash, put up 19 reps on the bench, and registered a 27.5" vert to go along with a 110" broad.
Strengths: Carter is versatile to line up at multiple spots along a defensive front. He has the power to hold up inside against bigger guards and has even shown the ability to take on double teams. A stout base, long arms, and big, powerful hands allow Carter to dictate. Aligned at 5-tech, Carter sets a hard edge and keeps the flow of the play going inside. As a pass rusher, from both the inside and outside, Carter has a wide variety of tools in the toolbox. He displays good-not-great athleticism for his size but has flashed the ability to speed rush and turn the corner.
Weaknesses: Carter's technique seems to come and go far too often. I wouldn't question his effort, just his consistency as a pass rusher. He needs to learn to stack moves that complement each other to find the field more on passing downs at the next level. Sloppy reps also pop up against the run. Right now, he's a jack of all trades but master of none.
Fit with the Jaguars: The Jaguars want to run a multiple front defense, and Carter's versatility makes sense in that regard. He fits best as a big base end who can hold the point of attack against the run. On passing downs, he can align either outside or inside and should be able to develop into a pocket pusher at the very least. Still, with his limitations and inconsistent play, I'd put Carter in the late-fourth to fifth-round bucket. If he continues to develop consistency with his technique, Carter should find himself in a rotational role at the next level and could have the ability to start in a pinch. The Jaguars are expected to have a crowded defensive rotation in 2022, but defensive ends Josh Allen, Dawuane Smoot, and Arden Key could all have expiring contracts after the season. The Jaguars have until May 2nd to pick up Josh Allen's 2023 fifth-year option. Jaguars' DL coach Brentson Buckner worked with Carter at Florida's pro day.
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