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...So You Drafted Kyle Carter

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Welcome to NFL Draft season! We here at Black Shoe Diaries know that you NFL fans can't possibly know about every single college player. That's why we're here to share with you all we know about some of our favorites. Today, we're going to tell you why you made the wonderful decision to draft Kyle Carter!

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Skinny

Kyle Carter has had a strange journey to get to this point in his football career. In fact, it's practically the exact opposite trajectory of most of his cohorts who are hoping to hear their names called during the 2016 NFL Draft.

After sitting out for a redshirt season in 2011, Carter quickly made a name for himself in Bill O'Brien's tight end-friendly offense during the 2012 season. Despite only appearing in nine games because of a sprained ankle and wrist injuries, Carter was named All-Big Ten as well as being the only freshman to appear on the John Mackey Award midseason watch list, given annually to the nation's top tight end. For the season, Carter finished with 36 receptions for 453 yards and two touchdowns. He seemed well on his way to becoming a future All-American and high NFL draft pick.

Unfortunately, things didn't quite pan out as expected. Carter's numbers dipped in 2013, with 18 catches for 222 yards despite playing in all 12 games. While this was partially due to a nagging arm injury suffered in week one, it also didn't help that the tight ends took a less prominent role in the offense as true freshman Christian Hackenberg adjusted to the collegiate game and took time before he was comfortable checking all the way down to the tight ends.

Carter's redshirt junior and senior campaigns reflect the downfall of many of his offensive teammates as productivity plummeted. The offense could be politely described as catastrophic failures in 2014 and 2015, ultimately leading to the dismissal of offensive coordinator John Donovan following a 55-16 loss to Michigan State to close the regular season on Senior Day.

Carter remained healthy for the 2014 season, while catching 16 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown. His lone touchdown came as a clutch overtime reception that helped Penn State defeat Boston College in a thrilling Pinstripe Bowl victory. His numbers continued to dwindle in 2015 with 14 catches for 135 yards and no touchdowns. The 2015 season was no doubt especially frustrating for Carter as he found himself behind sophomore Mike Gesicki on the depth chart, who struggled with drops throughout a very inconsistent season.

What You're Getting

Carter has decent size for the NFL at 6-3 and 252 lbs., although a couple more inches would make him more desirable as a red zone threat. He's proven to be a major asset in the passing game, and especially excels at running crisp routes and finding holes in the defense. He also has the athleticism to contribute in multiple ways. In addition to a true tight end, he can line up in various ways as an H-back as well as being a key special teams player. Carter is an intelligent player, as made evident by the fact he has been named as an Academic All-Big Ten honoree each of the past four years.

If he wants to find himself on an NFL roster for the foreseeable future, Carter will need to improve his strength to improve as a blocker, as well as in fighting through defenders to get off his routes. Carter is projected to be drafted in the seventh round or sign as an undrafted free agent. Like any player in this position, Carter will need to find the right fit in an offense that can get the most of his skillset and stay healthy for a prolonged career in the NFL.

CBS Draft Profile Draft Profile