Through the first five rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fanbase have to be feeling tremendous about what has materialized. We’ll review the Steelers’ entire draft haul a bit later, but a quick update on their fifth round selection just a few minutes ago. In Round five with the No. 161 overall pick, the Steelers got a steal of a deal in Fresno State outside linebacker Chris Carter. At 6-foot-1, 258 pounds, Carter will almost certainly be converted from defensive end to outside linebacker. Carter led the Mountain West Conference a year ago with 11 sacks, highlighted by his three-sack effort in an opening week win over Cincinnati.
Carter was projected as high as the late second round at various points in this pre-draft process, so the Steelers absolutely must be thrilled to have seen him fall all the way towards the end of round five. In case you were wondering, no, there’s no character or injury concerns that caused him to slide down draft boards.
Carter was not just a productive college player in a lesser conference. He also tested decently this offseason. He ran a 4.62 40-yard dash, threw up 27 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, and, most impressively, showed off his 32-inch vertical. Not off the chart numbers in the speed and strength department, but perfectly acceptable for an OLB in Dick LeBeau’s system. While Carter gets a bit stronger and learns the nuances of shedding blocks, you can probably expect to see him be a head hunter on special teams while James Harrison plays what presumably will be the last two or three years of his career.
For more analysis on Carter and fan discussion about the Steelers’ 2011 NFL Draft, check back in here and at Behind the Steel Curtain throughout the rest of the day and weekend.