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Duron Carter's CFL GM: "As Talented As Any" WR in NFL Draft

Montreal GM Jim Popp sang Duron Carter's praises in an interview with

INDIANAPOLIS --- The Colts signed wide receiver Duron Carter Monday, and his general manager with the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League praised his growth over the past two seasons north of the border.

"He's extraordinarily talented. He's as talented as any receiver that will be in the draft this year," said Montreal GM Jim Popp, who was also a finalist for the Colts general manager job with Ryan Grigson in 2012. "He's got all the measurables, and he's got the talent level."

The one area though that Popp says Carter has blossomed most since going undrafted out of college is off-the-field.

"Maturity. Once we did have him and started working with him, we realized how intelligent he was," Popp recalled. "He's an extraordinarily intelligent young man. Maybe the thought process of it was because he couldn't stay in school what kind of student was he, but he's very, very smart on a high IQ level of smarts…(Maturity) has kicked in and changed quite a bit in a two year span."


Carter attended four colleges in four years due to grade issues, most notably Ohio State and Alabama, but Popp says Carter has grown since then, including a Wonderlic score higher than 39, the intelligence test usually given to draft prospects to assess aptitude. For perspective, the average score is usually 21, or slightly above an IQ of 100. An NFL personnel man told Paul Zimmerman in his book The New Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football that the average score for a wide receiver is 17. Some of the notable high scores were by quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers 35, Tony Romo 37, Colin Kaepernick 37, Eli Manning 39, and Andrew Luck 37. Carter scored higher than all of them.

"His Wonderlic scores are probably as high or above most NFL quarterbacks that come into the NFL," said Popp. "The different things that have taken place since we've had him, even to the point of CFL lawyers from the owners' side for league meetings of reading a collective (bargaining) agreement, (Carter) knew it like the back of his hand. He had read through it and got into a discussion with a lawyer. He's one of the guys that will be able to walk in, pick up on things fairly easy, and learn what to do."

Carter was basically on a minimum contract for two years with the Allouettes. Popp said he never asked for a penny more, even after making a run at the CFL Rookie of the Year in his first season and was "just thankful for the opportunity."

Back on the field, what popped out to Popp about Carter was not just one thing. He has the package, even if his 40-yard-dash time didn't jump off the stop watch at his pro day.

"When we're talking measurables, this is a guy that what he runs in a 40, let's put him in a Jerry Rice Jerry Rice did, he's going to catch a ball, get by you, and you're not going to catch him. He's got a tremendous stride. He's got great short space escapability," explained Popp. "He can be an NFL punt returner if you ask him to do it. Let's just put him at 6'4", that has tremendous body control, go up on a dead run, jump over top of people, snag a ball."

Popp also praised Carter's ability to do the things that don't show up in the box score.

"He can pick up blocks, get around blocks," he explained. "He can catch a hitch pass and get up-field 15 yards in a blink of an eye. He can make that first guy miss. For a guy his height, he also plays like he's 5'10", like a quick punt returner, making the first guy miss."

It's funny how some story's come full circle, with Popp's latest NFL prospect in Montreal ending up at his first choice, the same place Popp interviewed for the GM job. Popp also said Ryan Grigson's brother Dru worked for him personally in Montreal, before Dru went to the Arizona Cardinals. Popp complimented Ryan Grigson on his scouting ability.

"Ryan's had success getting people from other leagues. Ryan's training, and a lot of people that know how to build the back end of a roster that have had training in finding talent outside of what everybody sees - the NFL Draft or the top priority free agents - you have to be able to know how to build a back end of a roster by finding guys that some people don't find," Popp explained. "He started out in this business working his way (up). He has respect for the CFL. He has found talent in other leagues, whether it's the UFL, the XFL, CFL, or AFL. Whatever is going on he's not afraid to look at, identify, and do these things."

And Carter falls exactly into that category.

"It doesn't mean he's got to be a guy that I would say could start...could be a 3rd or 4th receiver, help on special teams. I may approve that guy, but there's only so many guys that you ever look at that go, 'Hey, this guy's got a chance to go in and be a starter,'" Popp explained, using Browns wideout Andrew Hawkins as an example, who also played in Montreal. "Now, Duron has that level. He can come in and compete. If he continues to grow, he's got all the measurables, and he's got the talent level to be able to do that if he can sustain it."

All signs point to Carter having the tools, as Popp pointed out, but in the end, he'll still have to compete for playing time like everyone else on the roster. Duron Carter will certainly be a player to watch in offseason workouts and training camp.

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