T.J. Carrie, CB, Ohio (Round 7, 219 overall)
In 2008, as a true freshman, Carrie recorded 35 tackles, one pass breakup and one interception. He also returned five punts for 57 yards (11.4 yards per return). He missed the entire 2009 season after tearing a labrum in his left hip that required surgery. Upon returning to the starting lineup in 2010, Carrie impressed with 39 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and five pass breakups. He returned 19 punts for a total of 197 yards (10.4 yards per return).
Carrie was named to the All-MAC Second-Team in 2011 after an outstanding year in which he tallied 49 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 13 pass breakups and four interceptions. He returned 11 punts for 138 yards (12.5 yards per return) including a 65-yard touchdown against New Mexico State.
Misfortune struck again in 2012 when the standout cornerback fractured his right shoulder in fall camp. He sat out the entire season as a medical redshirt. In 2013, he concluded his collegiate career with his best season yet in which he totaled 42 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one sack, four interceptions and eight pass breakups. He also returned 21 punts for 267 yards (12.7 yards per return). Against Massachusetts, Carrie returned two interceptions for touchdowns. He was named to the All-MAC First-Team as a punt returner and the All-MAC Third-Team as a cornerback.
At 6'0" and 206 pounds, Carrie has ideal size for an NFL cornerback. Last year, he would have been the second tallest defensive back on the Raiders roster. He has long arms (31 7/8") and big hands (9 3/4"). He is a little underweight, but should gain muscle once given an NFL meal plan.
At his pro day, Carrie ran the 40-yard dash in 4.51 and 4.45 seconds. His 41-inch vertical jump ranked third among all cornerbacks.
"Carrie looks like an early third-day pick (fourth round)," said former Dallas Cowboys Vice President of Player Personnel Gil Brandt after observing Ohio's pro day.
He has the size and athleticism to keep up with most wide receivers in the NFL. On top of that, he can also be a valuable punt returner.
Carrie is pretty good in press coverage as he has the speed to cover most vertical wide receivers. When the ball is in the air, he competes for it. His size and vertical jump make him a very good defender in the redzone. Carrie has good awareness and quick reactions which are ideal traits for zone coverage.
He has stiff hips and poor footwork. While he is an explosive athlete, he does not show it when breaking on the ball. His stiff hips cause him to struggle in transition.
Carrie is a disciplined and does well in setting the edge so the running back is forced to cut back inside. He is competitive and won't shy away from a tackle. On inside runs, he closes in hard. He is a physical defender with a frame capable of delivering huge hits.
This is where Carrie will make an immediate impact in the NFL. His size, speed, and vision make him a very effective punt returner. In 2013 his 12.7 punt return average led the conference, and earned him a spot on the All-MAC First-Team. The Raiders are in dire need of a punt returner and are hoping Carrie can start from day one.
Travis, or T.J. as he prefers to be called, has overcome so many obstacles, it's amazing he still plays football at all, let alone in the NFL. During his freshman year in high school, he passed out on the field which led to his having open heart surgery on a coronary valve. Not only did he continue playing football after the procedure, he earned awards for best football and track athlete his senior year and was named First-Team All-Conference.
His spent his sophomore year of college sidelined with a torn labrum in his left hip, but came back the following year and had a good season. Following his fractured right shoulder that cast him the entire 2012 season, he returned in 2013 to have the best year of his career. That is a testament to how motivated he is to succeed.
Stiff hips and poor footwork could keep him from becoming a starting cornerback in the NFL. He also needs to improve his explosiveness out of his break. He comes with major injury concerns as he missed two entire seasons in college which also is the reason why he will be a 24-year-old rookie.
Carrie was a good value in the seventh round as a return specialist. The Raiders see him as their primary punt returner this season. While he will not start in the secondary, his size and athleticism should make him a valuable backup.