Learning more about ... Markell Carter

May, 9, 2011
5/09/11
2:00
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In the fifth of a series on Patriots 2011 draft choices, ESPNBoston.com speaks with Central Arkansas defensive coordinator Matt Williamson about Patriots sixth-round draft choice Markell Carter:

* How would you characterize Markell as a player?: "The first thing I'd say is that he wanted to be really good. At the same time, he wanted everyone else around him to know he was a good person. He always wanted to do the right thing, and he was always seeking help, and all the information he could, to become a better football player. He was always looking for whatever he could find to gain an edge on the offensive lineman he was going against. He is a great all-around person, and has the drive inside of him to make himself better every day."

[+] EnlargeMarkell Carter
Courtesy University of Central Arkansas "One thing I'd say is that the Patriots got a winner. He wants to win, whether it's in his college algebra class or on the field," Central Arkansas defensive coordinator Matt Williamson said about Markell Carter.
* From a style-of-play standpoint, how was he utilized?: "We run a 4-3 and he was a great rush end for us. He is so athletic that we experimented with standing him up a bit, but in the end, you're either a 4-3 team or a 3-4 team. We'd get into a 3-4 in passing situations but he was our best pass rusher and it's hard to stand him up; we felt personnel-wise, our team was better letting him rush the passer, which is something he's really good at. Can he stand up? Absolutely. But for what we needed, it would be like taking your best quarterback and moving him somewhere else. ... Markell, in my eyes, is a flashy player. When I say that, it means he does what he's supposed to do, he always plays hard, he hardly makes mistakes, and every 5 or 6 plays there is a 'Holy cow, what was that?' type of big-time play. I think that's what put him a cut above and that's why he was drafted. He plays hard, has great passion, and had those flashes."

* What were some of the biggest questions you were getting from NFL scouts and coaches?: "The biggest question that NFL teams ask [with any prospect], more than ever it seems, is 'What type of person is he?' I can stand on the table for Markell. In my eyes, he's the type of kid -- as a 20-, 19- and 18-year old -- that if I needed to go do something I'd have him watch my kids. I have an 8- and 5-year old and that's the type of person he is. I'll be honest, with some of the kids at 18 and 19 years old, I wouldn't trust them. But Markell is honest, mature and a level-headed person. He always handles business and doesn't get in trouble off the field. He's not the type of person who is going to negatively affect the name of a program. He'll show up, work hard, practice, and try to get better every single day. He turned it up a gear his senior year."

* Was there a performance, or a moment that stood out to you from his time at Central Arkansas?: "Two games this year, against Southeast Louisiana, and the last game against McNeese State. That last game, we had to win to make the playoffs and he turned it on. I've never seen him play like that. He was dominant. They couldn't block him. He had a couple of sacks, and a scoop-and-score for 30 yards or so. He got really, really nasty that game."

* What type of progression did you see from Markell over his career?: "I coached the defensive line my first two years here and he had played receiver in high school and wasn't that physical. So that was the biggest hurdle he had to make. Could he be more physical? I think that started to show up by his junior year, then he just turned it on. When we signed him, he was 225 [pounds]. He got up to 272, 275, but that was a little too heavy for him. He dropped it down to 255, 260 and that was the ideal weight for him."

* Any final impressions of your time working with Markell?: “One thing I'd say is that the Patriots got a winner. He wants to win, whether it's in his college Algebra class, or on the field. That's his mentality and I think that's helped him become the player he is. He learned that from his parents and hopefully a little from his coaches. He always has that inner drive. He's going to get you. It might take him a few times, but he's going to find a way to beat you and finish on top."

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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