TJ Carter UDFA profile

The Rams list former TCU and Memphis defensive back, TJ Carter, as a cornerback, but to me he looks like he might have a better chance long term at safety. Perhaps the distinction isn't important, because his likely pathway to trying to earn a roster spot is to be a good special teams player who can backup multiple DB spots. So, whether you want to call him a subpackage 3rd safety or a 4th CB probably doesn't matter too much. In a sense, he's like the UDFA level version of Lamarcus Joyner.

Most of his statistical production as a CB came during his true freshman and true sophomore seasons at Memphis, back in 2017 and 2018. Over that time period he had 30 PDs and 7 INTs. His first career INT was a crucial 4th quarter pick off of Josh Rosen. The following 2 seasons he didn't have a single INT and only 10 PDs. He transferred to TCU as a 5th year senior and played primarily safety.

It could be tough for Carter to stick on a regular roster. I think that Christian Bryant (7th round 2014, Ohio State) was a better prospect and Bryant was only a PS level player in the NFL. He needs to beat out players like Grant Haley, who was a 2018 UDFA out of Penn State, who is a similar DB. Haley got considerable playing time his first 2 NFL seasons with the NYG, but has been mostly a PS and special teams player since that point.


Pro Day: 5'9 1/4'' tall, 189 pounds, 30 3/4'' arms, 8 3/8'' hands, 73 1/2'' wingspan

4.57 sec (40 time), 1.52 sec (10 yard split), 2.71 sec (20 yard split), 37'' vert jump, 9'5'' broad jump, 4.15 sec (shuttle), 7.21 sec (3 cone). Did not bench due to shoulder injury.

From a rough neighborhood in east Nashville. Played RB and DB in HS. He was an outside CB early in his college career. Had 5 INTs as true freshman in 2017 at Memphis, then 2 the following season. In 12 games in 2019, had 39 tackles, 7 PBUs and a FF. He missed the final 2 games of the year due to a left foot injury. In 2020, he got injured in the 2nd game of the season and in 7 games he had 3 PBUs.

Playing for TCU in 2021, in 10 games he had 63 tackles, an INT and a PBU. He played was ejected for targeting in one game and also missed time due to injury. TCU's position coach praised Carter for his football character and work ethic.

Not ranked by either Drafttek or Lance Zierlein. Chad Reuter's 32nd best available UDFA cornerback.


Physical and aggressive for his size. Competitive and feisty. Fights through WR blocks to try to make tackles. Good play strength, takes on blocks and can stack them. Plays proper leverage when setting the edge and keeps his outside arm free. Raced up to close down a wide run and made a big hit on the RB. Retaliates when opponent tries to bully him.

Attacks downhill against the run. Drives on underneath routes to make tackles and limit YAC. Tackle strength to wrestle bigger opponents to the ground. Can fling WRs to the ground with force.

His hustle to make a tackle saved a TD.

Contests the catch point. Broke up pass with his back to the QB to prevent a TD in the EZ.

Heavy tackler relative to his size.

Experience as CB gives him better man coverage skills than most safeties. His aggressive and physical style of play makes him a better tackler than many small slot CBs.

Has played both S and CB, a candidate to be a swing backup.

Traits to be a solid special teams performer.


Lacks speed, gets put in trail position at the LOS. Doesn't have quick feet to mirror the release. Not fast in his backpedal. Often chasing after WRs from a trail position. Beaten on corner route.

Falls for double moves. Caught flat footed against play action. Didn't carry TE vertically after play action. Slow to gain depth after play action. Doesn't scan properly with his eyes, sometimes fails to diagnose whether it is a run or a pass. On a run up the middle, he thought it was a WR screen and jumped all over the WR, way out of position to help stop the RB. Slow finding the ball with his eyes on other plays, causing him to lose his gap responsibility.

Takes an extra step back when planting and driving, causing a slight delay.

Too handsy. Bodies up the receiver downfield to try to interfere with route.

Too short. Pass went right over his extended arm when he tried to jump and deflect the ball.

Missed a ton of tackles in 2021. Doesn't always wrap up. Small size leads to missed tackles and drag down tackles. Leaky pursuit angle, missed the tackle when the WR cut to the inside.Doesn't take efficient pursuit angles from a deep safety position. Angles typically too aggressive, then he has to adjust, resulting in a zig zag path to the runner and a weak tackling angle. Poor angle against wide run resulted in the runner being able to turn the corner on him. Inconsistent tackling form, sometimes he wraps up, but other times just tries to throw his shoulder into the runner and either misses or bounces off. Misses ankle tackle attempts. Lack of speed burst can result in his pursuit angle getting burned by faster runners. Weak approach angle can result in him attempting to tackle high around the collar and shoulder pads and having his tackle broken. His bad habit of throwing his shoulder into runners appeared to possible cause a shoulder injury in one of the games I watched.

Inexperienced and unreliable as a deep safety. Miscommunication as S with the CB resulted in the WR being wide open deep. His positioning sometimes off in relation to the route combination. Lacks instincts as single high safety, bit hard on TE and was not in position to help his CB on a deep route.

Doesn't have sufficient range as a deep safety. Stressed by speedy WRs. Late arriving trying to close on a deep post route.

Lacks composure, didn't time his challenge right and had multiple sloppy pass interference penalties.

Lacks spacial awareness, doesn't see blockers coming from his side.

Missed games due to injury each of his last 3 seasons.

After getting a bunch of INTs as a freshman, only had one INT his last 3 years in college.

A low ceiling prospect. I see him as a ST and backup candidate, I don't think he will become a starting level player.

Rams Outlook

While Carter has some limitations as a DB, I think he has good traits to be a special teams player. He has adequate speed for ST, is aggressive, physical and a heavy tackler. If he can impress the ST coach, that's probably his best chance at winning a roster spot.

Jake Gervase didn't look too good as a safety prospect coming out of Iowa, yet as a 2019 UDFA, he's still managed to hang around the fringe of the roster entering his 4th NFL season. Gervase played ST for the Rams in all of the playoff games last year.

What works against Carter is it is very crowded at the job he's trying to win. The Rams brought in so many rookie DBs and already had a number of veteran DBs who can fill the same role, the training camp and preseason competition should be fierce. Carter at least has a shot, but I don't know if there's anything special about him that would give him any built in advantage over the other players.