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Chiefs Draft Targets: CB T.J. Carter


For this edition of early Chiefs draft prospects we'll be looking at a cornerback. Memphis' T.J. Carter, who comes from a group of five school, shouldn't be overlooked. He has a lot of traits the Chiefs look for in their cornerbacks. The Chiefs should definitely look his way sometime in the 2021 NFL Draft. Let's dive in.

First off, why a cornerback? Well, we already looked at a potential linebacker and corner is right up there with linebacker in terms of need. The Chiefs only have three cornerbacks under contract after this year. That would include L'Jarius Sneed, Rashad Fenton, and BoPete Keyes. That's it. They absolutely have to invest at cornerback. Bashaud Breeland is likely gone as they were lucky to even get him back and Charvarius Ward has regressed this year and clearly still looks lost in certain matchups. Ward is solid, but a lot of Chiefs fans need to be realistic about his ceiling. He was an undrafted free agent to begin with and his potential probably ends around being a solid #2 corner which is fine. L'Jarius Sneed looks like a real franchise corner despite going down with an injury and he will need someone else to go with him. The Chiefs failed for many years trying to find a partner for Marcus Peters when he was in Kansas City and they shouldn't make the same mistake with Sneed. It is time the Chiefs finally invest high in cornerback this draft.

Now that my mini-rant has concluded, let me introduce Memphis Tigers cornerback T.J. Carter. Carter has stepped in and contributed to a Memphis unit since he was a freshman where he started 13 games. When watching Carter, the first thing that comes to mind is that this guy has some serious juice. He is a smooth athlete and plays with tenacity. He is very fluid in his movements and has a serious nose for the ball. On top of that, he is a very sound tackler. Just by watching him play you can tell he loves to tackle and plays with a certain fire that will fit into this Chiefs secondary.

However, Carter is just a tad bit on the slighter side at 5'11", 190lbs and will probably need some time to get up to speed while playing man-to-man in the NFL and when pressing. He sometimes gave too much of a cushion which allowed for easy completions as a younger player but that is all technique and can be fixed with the right coaching staff. Despite all of that, Carter has tremendous long-speed with his latest 40-time being listed as a 4.3 according to his Draft Scout profile and he will be able to stick to other teams' fastest receiver just like L'Jarius Sneed. Having more speed on the team is just what the Chiefs are looking for. If the Chiefs land Carter, it'll be a full-on track meet for anyone going up against Kansas City.

Carter primarily plays in man for the Memphis Tigers but his athleticism should allow for him to play wherever the staff needs him to and that is where players like Charvarius Ward struggle because Ward is more of a press-man corner and struggles in zone. Carter has been asked to play zone occasionally for Memphis and succeeded there as well.

In 2019 at Memphis, the now current senior recorded 39 total tackles, 3.5 TFL, 1 sack, and 1 forced fumble. Over his entire career, he has tallied 177 total tackles, 7 int, 37 PBUs, 3 forced fumbles, and one sack. Carter has been one of the best defensive backs in the nation for some time and was also on the pre-season watch list for the Jim Thorpe award which goes to the best defensive back in college football each year.

Carter is a realistic target for the Chiefs because he is someone I expect to fall through the cracks just a bit similar to L'Jarius Sneed. I expect Carter to grade out well at the combine but he still won't get as much hype as some of the other big names in this draft because of the fact he is from a GO5 school. Despite all of that, even if he is considered a reach, I would take him in the second round if I were Brett Veach and I wouldn't look back because this guy is a stud and he could be a riser by the time draft talk starts to heat up. Chiefs fans should definitely keep an eye on CB T.J. Carter this summer.


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