Cethan Carter had only 59 catches in four seasons at Nebraska, but that hasn’t stopped him from ranking among the top tight end prospects in the NFL Draft.
At 6 feet 3 inches and 241 pounds, Carter is one of the better blocking tight ends in the draft and should fortify the passing game of any team that selects him.
Who is Cethan Carter? 5 things to know
1. Carter played—and contributed—from Day One at Nebraska
Carter, who is from Louisiana, was a 3-star recruit in the Class of 2013 and chose Nebraska over a number of high-profile southern schools.
He saw the field immediately for the Cornhuskers, appearing in all 13 of the team’s games as a freshman and starting six of them. As one of only seven true freshmen to play for Nebraska that season, Carter caught 10 passes for 127 yards, including a 23-yard reception against Georgia in his team’s Gator Bowl victory.
2. Though he’s considered a blocking-first tight end prospect, his pass-catching numbers aren’t shabby
Carter’s 59 career receptions may not seem like too many, but they’re enough to leave him fifth all-time at Nebraska for catches by a tight end.
And his receptions weren’t a bunch of dinks and dunks. Carter averaged 12.6 yards per catch over his Cornhuskers career, and he caught four touchdown passes as well, three of them in Big Ten play.
Of the hundreds of pass-catchers in Nebraska history, Carter ranks No. 36 in receptions and No. 42 in receiving yards (744).
— Nebraska Football (@HuskerFBNation) March 4, 2017
Carter’s pass-catching abilities have a good chance to transfer to the professional level. Lance Zierlein’s NFL.com scouting report on the tight end notes that he struggled with drops and can improve his routes but praises him as well:
Gets off the line and into his route with adequate speed. Opens quickly out of the top of his route and makes himself a wide target for the quarterback. His 2015 tape shows the speed and athleticism to work the deep middle and intermediate routes.
3. Carter can run the ball too
Over Carter’s final two seasons at Nebraska, the Cornhuskers experimented with handing the ball off to him. The tight end made the most of his five career rushing attempts, racking up 82 yards (16.4 per carry) and scoring a 32-yard touchdown against Rutgers as a junior.
When Carter scored that touchdown, taking the handoff after starting the play on the line, the BTN announcer was so surprised he confused Carter for another player.
4. He’s considered a bit small for an NFL tight end
At the NFL Combine, Carter measured 6 feet 3 inches, on the small side for a player at his position. In fact, of the 19 tight ends measured at the combine, several were the same height as Carter but none were shorter. At 241 pounds he was the third lightest tight end measured, and his arm length and hand size trailed most of his peers as well.
On NFL.com, Zierlein wrote that “Carter is a block-first, move tight end in the Nebraska offense but he lacks the size and ability to sustain at the point of attack to handle in-line blocking duties on the next level.”
However, it’s not impossible for a tight end to have success in the NFL at Carter’s size, as players like Dallas Clark and Vernon Davis have shown.
5. Carter put up good numbers despite battling injuries (and earning a suspension)
Carter dealt with several injuries during his time at Nebraska, including a foot problem that cost him four games as a sophomore and an elbow injury that forced him to miss most of four games as a senior.
The latter injury threatened to derail Carter’s final college season, but he managed to catch 19 passes for 190 yards anyway, earning an honorable mention All-Big Ten nod in the process.
Carter was suspended the first two games of his junior season for violating an undisclosed team rule. After returning for the Cornhuskers’ third contest, Carter had the best pass-catching season of his career, reeling in 24 passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns.