His competitiveness and toughness should allow him to find a role on a 53-man roster as a backup and special teams standout. Although he hasn't done it much for the Horned Frogs, Carder could be a special teams contributor at the next level for years to come on coverage teams, and is a reliable and consistent performer.
He has the size and strength for the next level and is a very productive tackler. Once he sees a play he is quick to get there, and it's obvious that he understands how to read offensive lines to help him diagnose. A strong player who will fight his way into a role at the next level.
He needs to work toward the ball to be productive, but when he does, he has set records in the Mountain West for taking the ball to the house after interceptions.
All of his production comes off his instincts and many will question his athletic ability as he moves to the next level; he needs to have strong workout-based performances as he shows his ability to scouts before the draft."
In the seventh grade, Carder suffered a broken back and punctured lung/diaphragm in a rollover car accident. He was his high school's kicker and punter to avoid contact until his junior year, when he got the medical go-head to play any position; opposing coaches have been paying ever since.
The lightly-recruited Carder earned some playing time (nine tackles, one for loss in 11 games) behind future NFLers Jason Phillips and Daryl Washington as a redshirt freshman, then earned second-team All-Mountain West accolades after stepping into Phillips' starting role in the middle in 2009 (89 tackles, 10 for loss, 10 pass break-ups).
As a junior, he was named first-team all-conference (60 tackles, 9.5 for loss, 3.5 sacks, five pass break-ups), All-American by multiple outlets,.
TCU's aggressive 4-2-5 scheme asks Carder to attack gaps, taking himself out of plays, but his ability to close on the ballcarrier and make plays in coverage should earn him an early-round selection as a 4-3 strong-side linebacker or inside 'backer for a 3-4 team at the next level.
The only bump in the road would be NFL teams' concerns about those injuries suffered years ago, and their potential to derail his career with the car crash-type collisons that happen every play in the NFL.
Read & React: Heady player who always seems to be at the right place at the right time. Attacks ballcarriers in a hurry if a lane opens up in front of him. Loses the ball and overrun plays at times, sometimes because he is attacking his assigned gap and other times because he is asked to be so aggressive.
Run Defense: Regularly flows to the ball using the correct attack angle. Dips shoulder or attacks blockers directly when filling gaps, can anchor to maintain the line of scrimmage. Identifies and avoid pulling guards, fights off multiple blockers in traffic using lateral quickness and strong hands to find his way to the ballcarrier.
Will hurdle trash on the ground to get into the backfield, or get down quickly when facing pulling guards to create a pile in the hole. Lacks great upper-body bulk to keep from being engulfed by NFL-caliber linemen.
Pass Defense: Underrated athlete capable of covering running backs out of the backfield. Fair in dropping into his zone, gets sufficient depth on most plays and could be a bit more fluid moving backwards. Regularly breaks up passes whether making a hit over the middle or getting his hands up near the line of scrimmage.
Tackling: Possesses the length and aggressive nature to be a solid tackler, typically dropping his hips and bringing his legs to assure the stop. Strikes ballcarriers with reckless abandon when getting into the backfield. Agile enough to breaks down in the hole and on the outside to prevent being eluded. Has only adequate upper-body strength to corral stronger ballcarriers in the open field with arm tackles.
Pass Rush/Blitz: Good closing speed and strong hands to be effective as a blitzer. Lacks pass rush moves but has quick hands to swim past slower linemen and can find creases to knife through. Agile enough to grab mobile quarterbacks in the pocket. Benefits from being part of an aggressive scheme, consistently attacks the line.
Intangibles: Team leader on and off the field, plays with fiery attitude. BMX off-road biking world champion at just nine years old. Some teams may consider him an injury risk due to the broken back, punctured lung and diaphragm suffered in a car accident in grade school. Plays with a neck roll as a precaution. Missed time before 2010 season after undergoing shoulder surgery, but returned for opening week. Was a kicking specialist in high school."
Plus, he uses his length well to wrap up in tight quarters and overall is a very sound tackler when asked to play in a phone booth. Is at his best keying the inside run game, getting early jumps on the action and playing with some power inside.
Isn't an ideal stack and shed guy, can beat opposing blockers to a spot, breakdown and wrap well even through contact. However, struggles to anchor on contact when taking on blocks, has a bit of a burst downhill, and doesn't gain much leverage or display much natural anchor.
Gets exposed in space and really has a tough time re-directing quickly, collecting himself and making plays on the ball carrier. He's a tight-hipped kid who struggles to keep his pad level down when changing directions, doesn't generate much depth at all in his drop and lacks the range to turn and run with receivers down the field.
Now, he does have some savvy when trying to get his hands on pass catchers in tighter quarters, but overall he's a guy who will be limited to only playing in a 34 scheme where they can limit the amount of space he'll play in. Looks more like a reserve only.
Impression: Lacks the athleticism needed to play in space and isn't the kind of "plus" power guy to overcome his deficiencies inside. Looks like an overachieving inside guy to me who you can't count on as a starter."
Does not have a powerful body and does not create as a blitzer, though he is a sound zone defender who shows good reactions and hands to intercept.
Is similar to Ravens 2009 fifth-rounder Jason Phillips, another TCU product, and needs to be covered up.
Adrenaline junkie-type who will have to prove his worth on special teams."
Carder has started the past two seasons for TCU and has 158 total tackles during his career. The Horned Frogs use him in a variety of different ways, so he should be able to play all three downs in the NFL.
It was a smart move for Carder to return for his senior season after considering entering the 2011 NFL Draft. This year Carder needs to show better strength and ability to shed blockers.
Bold Statement: Carder will be a star during all-star games, which will help improve his draft stock.
Games Viewed: Wisconsin ('10), BYU ('10), Baylor ('10), Oregon State ('10), Utah ('10)
• Is perhaps the best pure tackler in the nation. When Carder is on a ball carrier, the play is typically over. He's a good form tackler and doesn't stop until the play is over.
• Always seems to be around the ball, which is a testament to Carder's anticipation.
• In the run game, Carder can get washed out at times because he's not strong enough to consistently shed blocks.
• Is a relentless linebacker who keeps playing with effort even when knocked down or held up on a block.
• Does some of the play calling before the snap and routinely coordinates with the TCU secondary.
• Has been used at times firing off the edge on the blitz. Has a decent first step, but will probably never be a dynamic pass rusher at the next level.
• For Carder to be at his best, he has to beat the ball carrier to the point of attack. When Carder fails to do so, he can be neutralized."
Also very quick and instinctive with sideline-to-sideline range; can make plays in both directions; had 3.5 sacks and 6 other tackles for loss last fall; also one of the better coverage LBs in college football has 15 career pass break-ups, although he doesn’t necessarily have great hands;
Will struggle at times to hold the point of attack but generally does a good job shedding blocks; has an outstanding work ethic and should be a good special teamer at the next level;
Health is an issue, though, as he had problems with a shoulder in the past; also suffered multiple serious injuries including a punctured diaphragm, collapsed lung, and broken bones in his back in a car accident as a youth and wasn’t allowed to play high school football;
Fearless kid, though, who was a national BMX bike champion in elementary school."
Carder finished 2010 on a strong note with a standout performance against Wisconsin. TCU continued to overachieve in 2011, but Carder did not. He had a fine season, but nothing jumped out about his game. Carder probably isn't as tall as TCU's website claims he is and the combine will clarify that.
Athletically, there isn't a lot to get excited about. Carder's game relies on playing within himself, sticking to his assignment and holding his own ground. The big red flag is his athleticism, quickness and straight-line speed.
Can he cover fast, athletic tight ends? No. Can he cover ground sideline to sideline? To an extent, but Carder is ultimately a reserve linebacker, a hard-working backup and that's going to be it."