Cornellius (Tank) Carradine has been one of the best players on a talented Florida State defense this season, and his draft stock has risen as a result. Here's my scouting breakdown on Carradine.
School: Florida State
Position: Defensive end
NFL Comparison: Lawrence Jackson
Carradinehas taken an interesting journey to becoming a top NFL prospect. He had to go to Butler Community College out of high school because of academic problems, spending two seasons there before transferring to Florida State.
He was the third defensive end for the Seminoles before Brandon Jenkins went down for the season, when Carradine stepped right into the starting position and hasn't looked back since.
Physically, Carradine is as impressive as any defensive end in the country. He's blessed with a chiseled frame, extremely strong lower body, and good coordination. But as a pass-rusher, he's still pretty raw. He always plays with his hand in the ground, and gets out of his stance quickly and powerfully, but gets caught a little too upright at times.
When he gets good leverage and keeps his legs under him, Carradine is impossible to stop. He also uses a good swim move off the outside and has the strength to push linemen off their feet if he gets a hand on their chest.
He looks to have average top-end speed, which is probably enough for the position but isn't a major part of his game. He also has good, but not elite quickness. With more coaching and experience, his footwork and awareness should improve a bit. If he can add another move to his repertoire, Carradine will be even more dangerous.
Carradine needs some work against the run, but isn't really a liability. He sometimes gets caught ball-watching when he stays at home against the run.
The 23-year-old moves well laterally across the line when pursuing the ball-carrier, but could take better angles to make himself more disruptive. I saw him get pushed out of the play too often against the run.
Carradine lined up on both sides of the line, always with a hand in the ground. He doesn't have the speed to be a outside linebacker, but could play DE in both a 3-4 and 4-3 scheme in the NFL.
I only saw him drop back in coverage and make a play once during the four games I scouted him, so there isn't much in the way of versatility for Carradine. He's a true defensive end.
He has had no major injuries during college and seems to have a good motor, working hard to get to the quarterback. Carradine also has really stepped up to the pressure of replacing Jenkins, who was a preseason All-American.
*EDIT: Carradine tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the 2012 season.
He definitely still has work to do, but the potential is there. I see Carradine getting taken in the second half of the first round.
*EDIT: With his torn ACL, Carradine will unfortunately drop a lot in the draft, and probably won't go higher than the third or fourth round at this point. His future depends on his recovery.