INDIANAPOLIS –Russ Lande understands the immense intrigue building for Duron Carter's arrival to Indianapolis.
As the Director of College Scouting for Carter's former team, the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, Lande has watched one of the most talented prospects north of the border up close for the last two years.
Carter's rare physical makeup and Hall of Fame pedigree has Colts fans itching to see how the 6-5, 205-pound receiver transitions into what appears the ideal NFL scenario.
Lande knows why the interest is high.
"(Carter) can make a quarterback, when he misses, look fantastic because he can go up and sky and catch high balls," Lande said at this year's NFL Combine. "Not that Andrew (Luck) has that big problem but, hey, everybody misses at times and (Carter) can turn bad balls into big plays.
"Very smart kid, probably knows more about coverages and what's going on defensively than pretty much any receiver that comes out of colleges. I think his only weakness is he's speed deficient. He can run after the catch, he can change games with the ball in his hands. His ability to make the over-the-shoulder catch is outstanding. He's really special with his hands. It's a unique skill he has for a big kid."
Listening to Lande talk, Carter's adjustment to consuming an NFL playbook shouldn't be too difficult.
Lande says Carter got things "instantly" in Montreal but acknowledges the differences in a few on-the-field rules that come with playing in the NFL.
In two seasons with the Alouettes, Carter caught 124 balls for 1,939 yards and 12 touchdowns.
After bouncing around several colleges and not initially sticking with the Minnesota Vikings, Carter finally produced to the potential so many envisioned when he originally enrolled at The University of Ohio State.
"There's no doubt that was a big concern with all the stuff that happened with the three different colleges," Lande said. "But from the time he got to the Alouettes to when he left, to see how much he's grown as a kid, how much he's matured, how the light has gone on, I'm not saying he's 100 percent there but Duron is a lot more mature and ready for this opportunity than he would've been if he'd gotten that chance when the Vikings brought him in right out of school."
Carter's adaption to NFL football will have its obvious hurdles.
Despite being 6-5, Carter wasn't really used as a red zone threat via fade patterns in the CFL, like someone of his size would typically be labeled as in the NFL.
Lande calls Carter a "long, linear" runner who despite not being able to run away from defenders, can still make plays with the ball in his hands.
When the Colts report for the start of their offseason program on Monday (April 20), Carter's development will be one of the top spring storylines.
The Colts are tempering expectations, knowing that Carter has yet to even put the pads on in an NFL environment.
His package though is worth the look and the Colts will provide Carter with an atmosphere that could lead to mammoth rewards in the long run.
"He's got the tools, in my opinion," Lande said at the Combine. "In terms of maturity, I think he's on the right track. I really do. I think he knows what it takes now and he just needs some prodding and a little sort of nudge here and there to make sure he goes in the right direction.
"If he can stay focused on football, do the little things – weight room, trainers, all that – he has a chance to be a very productive starter in the NFL."