As Dallas Cowboys Owner and GM Jerry Jones, Head Coach Jason Garrett, and the rest of the Cowboy’s draft personnel begin preparing their ‘Draft Board’ for the 2012 NFL Draft, many of our readers are curious about specific college prospects. One of this week’s emails was about Texas Christian University’s Rose Bowl Defensive MVP Tank Carder.
In an era when so many of the elite college athletes are less than ‘high-character’ guys and we hear about fisticuffs with rappers or bodyguards, exorbitant and unpaid jewelry bills, marijuana arrests, accusations of sexual impropriety, selling memorabilia for services, shenanigans at strip clubs, etc., it was refreshing to research a prospect that appears to be an old-fashioned good American kid.
If you do not know anything about Tank Carder’s story, then I highly recommend that you read this story at ESPN. (How many of you knew that Tank was a competitive BMXer when he was a kid?). The story is from 2009, but it tells about how Carder almost died in a car accident, and how they thought he might be confined to a wheelchair. It also explains his slow return to the football field: forbidden from playing all contact-sports by his Doctor, Tank agreed to play kicker until he was cleared for physical contact.
Thank you to Cody Dubose of Angleton, Texas, for drawing our attention to such an inspiring story, and for the email below:
"I was just wondering what the Cowboys think of TCU’s Tank Carder, being that Ft.Worth is so close to Dallas, I’m hoping that Jerry Jones has at least looked at some of his game film. He is an amazing LB and has great work ethic. Right now he is in California working out and striving to improve his already energetic style of play. A close friend of mine that I work with, Charlie, is great friends of Rick and Marti Carder (Tank’s parents). I was looking at one mock draft (The Walter Football Mock Draft) and it had Dallas taking Tank in the 3rd Round with their 82nd pick. I know these are just mocks and a lot can happen between now and draft day, but I was just wanting to know if you think the Cowboys have looked at him. Thank you for your time,Cody Dubose"
I re-phrased Cody’s question as follows, and then posed it to the Landry Hat Writers:
"“If Tank Carder fell to the Cowboys in the 3rd round, would you consider using the 82nd pick to draft him? If not, would you consider picking him in a later round?”"
C. Joseph Wright: I am sure that Jerry Jones, Jason Garrett, and the scouting department know all about Tank Carder.
I have to be honest, I didn’t know much about Tank Carder before Cody’s email, but the more I read about him, watch his video, and listen to him to talk, the more I really like this kid. Thanks to Cody for introducing him to me.
It was really difficult for me to get a sense of Carder’s value: some mock drafts have him going in the 3rd round, but some don’t have him going until the 6th or 7th round. I have seen him rated in the top 10 LB’s in the nation, I have also seen him rated around 25th.
There is a really good video of Carder available on youtube (it is based on the 2010 season).
I think the Cowboys will be looking for an impact player with their 3rd pick, plus they have drafted two ILB’s in the second round in each of the last two drafts, so I don’t think they would use the 82nd pick on Carder.
However, if Carder fell into the 4, or even the 5th round, it wouldn’t surprise me if the ‘Boys drafted him. He seems to be what Garrett wants in the “Right Kind of Guy”: he has a high football IQ, a great work ethic, he loves football, and he has demonstrated that he thrives in adversity. Perhaps most importantly: he is excellent in pass-coverage and could be used to rest Sean Lee and/or Bruce Carter in the nickel defense.
If you want to gather a sense of how competitive Tank is, check out his response in the ESPN article to his mother’s question, “What are you going to do if you can’t ever walk again.?” He answered, “Well, I guess I will have to join the Wheelchair Olympics.”
When you watch the video of Tank, even in the 2010 season, it is obvious he has a ‘nose for the ball’. He reminds me a lot of Sean Lee when playing the run: he seems to charge into a scrum of players and come out the other side to meet the ball carrier. He also looks very good in pass coverage.
I think it will tell us a lot when we see whether Tank is invited to the annual “Dallas Day” work-out for local prospects.
With Bradie James and Keith Brooking moving on (hopefully), the Cowboys do need some depth at ILB; I would love to see Tank Carder wearing the Star and backing up Sean Lee and Bruce Carter (maybe even competing with Carter for playing time down the road).
Todd Toombs: The third round would be way too high for Tank Carder in my opinion. You could probably get him in the 4th round. He’s a very capable player with good skills who had a solid college career at TCU but will likely find the going a bit tougher in the NFL. He’s undersized at 236 lbs. Players like Nigel Bradham from Florida State or even Emmanuel Acho from Texas to name just two would potentially be better choices if you’re looking to get a LB with the Cowboys 3rd round pick.
Seth Jones: I like Tank Carder. I would definitely consider drafting him if he was the best available defensive player at that time, though he probably won’t be. Personally, I’m expecting Jerry to trade his 3rd round pick away along with something else for a pick next year. Don’t question this! Just accept it, as if it were your own child.
Johnathan Barger: If Tank Carder falls that far, I can see the Cowboys picking him up. It also depends on how they spend the 1st two draft picks. What if the best player available at pick #14 is Kuelchy out of BC? I don’t see us taking 2 ILB’s in the first 3 rounds. This draft will definitely be defensively based, but I believe our starters at the ILB position are set. We would be looking for depth, and there’s nothing wrong with taking a good ILB for depth, but we need difference makers the first 2 rounds. Not sure if Tank will be a difference maker and be able to compete with Carter or Lee. How about a sleeper pick in our 3rd round? Like a broken Ryan Broyles.
Erasmus: I think we draft TANK Carder in the 1st round on one condition: he be allowed to play in a real tank. He would have to switch positions, but I think that a tank would fix the offensive line problems. I am pretty sure that just about anyone could gain tons of yards running/jogging behind a tank (even an old ex-RB). They could then save money by cutting all the RB’s, hiring Emmitt again, and using all the money on defense. This would ensure that no one could ever break Emmitt’s NFL Rushing record and it would help fix the defense.
Mark Contreras: He’s a great story that’s for sure. The pessimist in me says a man that used to be so frail he couldn’t play football would be a perennial Injured Reserve All-Star. The optimist says he could be another Sean Lee. But as far as football is concerned, I probably wouldn’t take him before the 4th.
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