West Point’s Andre Carter could be the first Service Academy player in decades to go into the first round


Will Andre Carter II be the highest drafted member of a service academy in more than half a century?

Will Andre Carter II be the highest drafted member of a service academy in more than half a century?
picture: AP

As Andre Carter II demonstrated his ability to push past offensive linemen and wipe out many quarterbacks for 15.5 sacks during the 2021 college football season, his steady rise as an integral member of the Army’s defense also provided momentum for a potential NFL -Career. If he stays healthy in the foreseeable future, there’s undoubtedly in several parts of Carter’s future.

The Black Knights’ up-and-coming senior outside linebacker is one of the most unique prospects likely to hear his name in the 2023 NFL Draft. Carter is in No. 15 overall by Pro Football Focus in an early mock draft for next year. Should Carter be selected in the first two rounds of the NFL draft, he would be easily the highest-drafted player from a service academy in more than 60 years.

The last top 100 NFL draft picked by a service academy was the Navy’s Bob Reifsnyder, a defensive end taken by the Rams 45th overall in 1959, the NFL draft pick as the winner of the 1946 Heisman Trophy Glenn Davis was drafted 2nd overall by the Lions in the 1947 draft. Carter is still a juggernaut who would break the Super Bowl-era record currently held by Napoleon McCallum in 1986 at No. 108 overall.

Carter enjoyed the competition as a junior, but don’t let Army’s status as an independent FBS fool you. The Black Knights played Power Five Conference competitions and some of the best from the Group of Five. Remember all the fanfare surrounding Liberty’s Malik Willis ahead of this year’s NFL Draft? Carter put him on the turf and also had a sack against Missouri and Wisconsin. Carter was second in the nation last season with 15.5 sacks, trailing only Will Anderson Jr. of Alabama, the likely No. 1 overall winner in 2023, who posted 17.5.

The NFL draft hasn’t seen a modern prospect from a service academy with as much hype as Carter. Because he’s there school on West Point, much like the Naval Academy or Air Force, can Carter be obliged to serve on active duty after receiving her diploma. This limitation hasn’t stopped NFL teams from picking players from these schools. Five players have been drafted from an FBS service academy in the past decade, including this year Jordan Jackson, a sixth-round pick for the Saints in Air Force defensive tackle.

Recent precedent shows exceptions granted to players to defer military service for gridiron careers such as: B. Air Force graduate Nolan Laufenberg, who is currently under contract with the Commanders. Davis did not play for the Rams for two years after his selection. Navy legend Roger Staubach (a 10th-round pick was part of the 1964 NFL draft and didn’t match the Cowboys until 1969. Carter receiving this waiver is a necessary part of that process, but one that will be easy to complete If his wish is to play on Sunday before honoring his agreement with the army, that’s exactly what he will do, and having his skills spotlighted shouldn’t complicate matters.

Unless Carter’s draft backlog falls sharply, the parameters of his future will be known to NFL teams and the public by next spring. None of the 32 NFL teams would pay millions of dollars to someone who wouldn’t be on their list in a few months, for whatever reason. According to Spotrac, the value of the #15 draft pick is $15.9 million with a nearly $9 million signing bonus. Even if he falls by the end of the first round, Carter should earn around $16 million in a contract and signing bonus.

There’s no doubting the 6-foot-7, 260-pound Carter’s capabilities. He is an NFL-caliber player and would disrupt the NFL as an edge rusher or outside linebacker. Carter will show him off again this fall as one of college football’s best defensemen. He will have chances to shine against Wake Forest, UTSA and Coastal Carolina, who have won 34 games combined in 2021. And you’d better believe he’ll be one of the most intriguing players in the 2023 NFL Draft.

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