2014 NFL Draft Scouting Report – Ryan Carrethers, DT Arkansas State


Arkansas State defensive tackle Ryan Carrethers took a little while to figure things out, but in his senior year, the light really came on for him and he started to show what he could be.  Not only was he able to be a run stopper, but he was able to get a few sacks along the way, block kicks and even get a carry to score a touchdown.  He is not a finished product for Arkansas State, but he showed an incredibly rare ability to play for a ton of snaps and play them at a high level as heads to the NFL.

Carrethers is a huge body that can play that can move and stay fresh for a good amount of time.  He is working on becoming a great run stopper and needs to work on a few areas to get more consistent.  While he is not someone that teams will expect can rush the passer much, he gives more than nothing when he is on the field.  Carrethers has the potential to be special with his ability to play so many snaps if he can keep developing his game and as a result, he warrants a top 100 pick, but he could be a surprise player who goes earlier and eventually becomes an institution for someone as a nose tackle.

Vitals & Build

Nov 8, 2012; Jonesboro, AR, USA; Arkansas State Red Wolves defensive lineman Ryan Carrethers (98) during the game against the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks at Liberty Bank Stadium. Arkansas State defeated Louisiana Monroe 45-23. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Carrethers measured in 6’1” 337lbs at the scouting combine with 31 ¾” arms.  He is obviously huge, physically, but he has a good amount of strength and power.  His burst and short area quickness is better than some might expect.  Carrethers is a good athlete, but what makes him really stand out is his motor and stamina at that size.  It is simply remarkable how hard he can go and how many plays he can contribute at a high level.  The one area of some concern is his balance and there are definitely situations where that proves problematic for him.  Carrethers can continue to work to fine tune his body and keep adding strength, but he is impressive in his athletic make up now.

Snap Anticipation & First Step

Partly because he is able to maintain such energy, his focus is high and his attention to detail is consistently there.  As a result, he does a nice job anticipating the snap and getting off of the ball well.  There are plenty of bigger defensive linemen who can get tired, wear down and react to what the opponent does.  Carrethers keeps taking the action to the opponent and tries to tell them what he is doing to do.

His first step is good in that he tends to be aggressive with eating up ground, but he does often come out too high.  The result is too often he exposes his chest and he can knocked off balance early in the play and driven off of the ball.  There are plenty of situations where he is simply too big and too strong, but some of that is purely on the competition.

If Carrethers can work to fire out lower, he will maximize his functional strength and make it that much more difficult to move him off of the spot as well as making it so he can collapse the pocket more often.

Block Shedding

Carrethers tends to extend his arms and use that to allow him to move up and down the line as needed or try to collapse the pocket.  When he is looking to get off of blocks and disengage, he can periodically throw guys out of the way.

The other thing that Carrethers really likes to do is use a swim move. As seemingly odd as it is for a 6’1” defensive tackle is using a swim to get past interior linemen, many are so concerned with his power and anchoring to stop him that the swim move works.  It will probably be far more difficult to pull off at the next level against taller, stronger interior linemen but it has allowed him to get penetration and try to blow up the play.

Run Stopping

For the most part, Carrethers operates as the man in the middle, looking to cause enough havoc to force the double team and try to collapse the pocket.  When he gets behind his pads and extends his arms, he is not only tough to move, but he can get penetration, collapsing the middle.

He has also shown the ability to disengage, find the ball carrier and make tackles.  This can be inconsistent at times and he will some tackles he maybe should not, but he will also make some really nice plays, catching opponents by surprise with his short area quickness and overall range.  Along with that, Carrethers can work down the line, keep the opponent out of his body with an arm and stay with plays, allowing teammates to attack and make the play coming from the outside.

There are times when Carrethers will go for the ‘selfish’ play and go for a big play himself, which can leave his teammates in trouble.  For instance, he will make a quick move and get into the backfield where he could blow it up, but is not able to do the job and blockers go right to the second level and make a big play.  These are not often, but they happen enough to simply be noticed.

The biggest issue for Carrethers is simply getting his pad level right on every play.  When he does, he is virtually immovable.  The times he exposes his chest early, opponents can get into his body, knock him off balance and drive him off of the ball.  Along with that, going high can also give him problems when opponents chop him down.  Better pad level and a lower center of balance would enable him to absorb and deflect those attempts more often.  Carrethers needs to do more to avoid ending up on the ground.

Nevertheless, Carrethers is a solid run defender who should only get better with coaching and technical work.  What makes him intriguing is that he might actually plays less plays in the NFL, because he is more likely to be taken out of the game in obvious passing situations, so he may actually be able to be in on an incredible amount of running situations and continue to frustrate opponents for a substantial amount of time.  As much as anything else with Carrethers, that part of it could make him go earlier than some might expect.

Pass Rushing

Carrethers is not a great pass rusher, but he will give it everything he has.  In fact, going into the film, there is a sense that he is almost working too hard to try to rush the passer and that he will wear himself out too much to play the run.  His motor and stamina hold up and rather than a misuse of limited resource in terms of energy, his effort to rush the passer proves to be a bonus.

Carrethers is not someone who is likely to get many sacks, but he can cause pressure, he can scare opponents, and he can create opportunities for his teammates.  If he has a lane, he has enough burst and quickness he can exploit it and while he is not chasing down many quarterbacks, they will either notice him or get killed.  And in seeing a man that size coming at them, it can cause them to panic, make a bad throw or try to escape and get hit on the outside.  Also, because Carrethers can get inside pressure at times and collapse the pocket, he can make it difficult for the opposing quarterback to step up in the pocket and make a good throw.

Again, Carrethers is not the guy a team wants to be out there rushing the passer, but he will give everything he has to try to be a benefit and he is not a wasted player in those situations.

Special Teams

Carrethers is a big, strong guy who can play a lot of snaps.  He will be in on field goal block attempts and try to create penetration to block kicks.

System Fit

Carrethers is a pure 0-technique in the best situation.  He is really well suited to play the nose tackle spot and just cause problems.  His athleticism could make him an optional as a nose guard in a 4-3 scheme, but it seems like a 3-4 team will take him earlier in the draft.

Carrethers seems likely to find reps as a rookie, but he may not be equipped to take the full load out of the gate.  His potential is impressive, but he does need to get better in technique, leverage, pad level and eliminating some of the mistakes.  It is difficult to imagine he will not get an opportunity to start at some point down the road and could be a terrific player and front line player when he does.

NFL Comparison

Carrethers has some characteristics that make him similar to Dontari Poe of the Kansas City Chiefs.  Now, he is not as big or as physically freakish as Poe was, but he is a big guy who has a remarkable motor and stamina, which Poe has had.  Poe played around 92% of the Chiefs’ plays last year and Carrethers did not play quite that many for Arkansas State, but it was a huge number given his position.  Poe is a unbelievably rare athlete, but Carrethers is notable in his own right and while he will not be drafted as high and may take longer to have the impact Poe has, it is difficult to ignore what he offers a team.

Draft Projection

Ryan Carrethers is not simply a big body, but he is an impressive athlete.  His most noticeable traits are his stamina and motor, which will make it easier for teams to bet on his development.  Fresh, he is more likely to be able to employ consistent technique as he learns it and be an impact player.  Carrethers is not ready to start right away, but it may not be long before he is a mainstay up front for a team looking for a nose who can eat up space and be able to offer a ton of snaps.  As a result, he looks like a top 100 pick and could be a surprise, going earlier.

Some of the film used for this scouting breakdown was provided by the good folks at draftbreakdown.com