FSU's Tank Carradine shooting up NFL draft boards
Once considered a certain first-round pick, teams began to grow wary of using such a valuable asset to acquire a player whose future health was uncertain. Carradine was able to give teams some optimism when reports suggested he would be ready to workout for scouts before the draft. However, there was still the matter of putting in a solid workout and proving that he was on his way to a full recovery.
Carradine held his Pro Day workout on April 20th, and he performed just about as well as one could hope. Less than five months removed from his torn ACL, Carradine ran a 4.75 forty-yard dash, which is very impressive considering he is 6'4'' and weighed in at 276 pounds. He was unable to make cuts at full speed, but that is to be expected at this point in his recovery.
The workout, combined with his college game tape, has created a lot of buzz in NFL circles, and Carradine now appears destined to be a first-round pick. He was a dominant defensive end in college who most believe could also play outside linebacker in a 3-4 base defense.
The Saints were the first team with a high draft pick to be linked to Carradine. With the 15th overall selection, I would expect the Saints to opt for Jarvis Jones or Barkevious Mingo over Carradine, should they be available. Regardless, it's definitely worth noting that a team drafting as high as the Saints would "seem quite intrigued" by a player who was recently forgotten about in a lot of mock drafts.
Teams more recently (and probably more appropriately) linked to Carradine include the Dolphins, Giants, and Vikings. The Dolphins have the 12th overall pick, but are trying hard to trade down, and if they are able to move into the early 20's, they could go after a player like Carradine to rush the passer opposite Cameron Wake. Some have suggested that if the Dolphins truly love Carradine, they could still select him at 12 if they can't trade down.
A lot of people are talking about the Giants going after a pass rusher due to 30-year-old Justin Tuck entering the final year if his contract, but I still think they're more likely to address a current need rather than a position that might be a need in the future. Those current needs include linebacker, cornerback, and right tackle.
The Vikings, who have the 23rd and 25th overall picks, could be in a prime spot to snag Carradine. However, their top three defensive ends combined for 28.5 sacks last year, so I don't see it as a very realistic position need. As far as defense goes, I like the Vikings going after the top middle linebacker on their board.
The Falcons are rumored to be interested in trading up to get Carradine, which I believe would make sense if they are really high on him. I have them selecting fellow FSU defensive end Bjoern Werner at 30th overall in my latest mock draft.
As far as where I think Carradine will go, I like him at 24th overall to the Colts, who desperately need a young edge rusher. However, I must say I'm getting nervous about him lasting until the Colts' pick, especially if the Dolphins find a way to trade down. Carradine will be one of the more interesting players to monitor on draft day.