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Patriots NFL Draft Prospect: FS Quinton Carter, Oklahoma

Name: FS Quinton Carter

School: Oklahoma

Size: 6'1, 208 lbs

Expected Round: 2nd-3rd

40 Time: 4.57s

Career Stats: Click Here.

Player Previews: CBS; Walter FootballNFL Combine [If you would like your website included, please e-mail me!]

Strengths: Carter is a smart player who takes great angles in order to make the big hit. He possesses impressive closing speed and can get to a player after the ball is in the air. He's able to play man coverage and zone coverage at both safety and cornerback, which adds value since he can move up in the nickel spot. Willing and more than capable to stop the run. Vicious hitter, but isn't reckless. Leader in the locker room and off the field (has his own non-profit). Able to blitz the quarterback. Solid hands to grab interceptions.

Weaknesses: Even though he has elite closing speed, he doesn't have top end straight line speed, which is why he's a safety and not a cornerback. He can destroy players in front of him, but may struggle to keep up with players if they pass him. Sometimes leaves his position if he thinks the quarterback will scramble.

Why and Why Not the Patriots after the jump, and my final verdict!

Why the Patriots?: Carter is possibly the most versatile safety in the draft and can be the cover corner that Belichick wants. Hoodie tried Pat Chung at nickelback in some settings, but Chung struggled in coverage. Carter would allow Chung to stay in his SS spot, while also playing FS when he wasn't needed in man coverage. He takes great angles and makes great decisions on and off the field. He's a playmaker with solid hands. He's basically the opposite of Brandon Meriweather- less athletic, much smarter, less reckless, more versatile. His skill set is perfect for the Patriots.

Why Not the Patriots?: Carter will most likely be one of the first few safeties off the board, so that means the Patriots would have to use one of their early draft picks on Carter. If the Patriots are keeping Meriweather and Sanders, then that's a high price to pay for a player who might not see the field for a couple seasons. Cost/need is really the only reason why the Patriots might not take him.

Verdict: Carter is my favorite safety prospect so far (with Jarrett at #2) due to his versatility and his decision making skills. He'd be a great center fielder for the Patriots. If the Patriots ship off Meriweather or Sanders (or decide that Meriweather is toxic and that they'll release him), then they should definitely take Carter at the end of the second. If they keep both safeties, then Carter is still a solid 3rd round choice who will be able to take over the reigns after Meriweather and Sanders contracts are up.

Look for #20 (the safety with the long hair). He takes away a whole side of the field. Extremely impressive.