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Ex-teammate: Carter could be ace in the hole for Lions

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Alex Carter

Indianapolis — How much the Lions look at cornerbacks in the 2016 draft is largely dependent on general manager Bob Quinn’s thoughts about Alex Carter.

A third-round pick in 2015, Carter missed his entire rookie season. But since he is just 21, he has plenty of time to make good on his potential. And one of Carter’s college teammates expects him to impress now that he’s healthy.

“He’s going to be better than the last time you guys saw him because he’s been working all offseason,” former Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan told reporters this week at the NFL combine. “He’s stronger; he’s been taking care of his body. I think that he has a fire lit under him from sitting out that time.”

Carter’s rookie year hardly went according to plan. He missed some of the offseason program as he finished his scholastic requirements at Stanford, and then an ankle injury held him out of nearly all of training camp. Then, he started the year on injured reserve with designation for return, but the team chose to keep him on IR the entire season.

The 6-foot, 198-pound Carter has many desirable traits for a cornerback with a combination of speed, quickness, strength and length. Unfortunately for the Lions, without seeing him in an NFL game, it’s hard to trust what he can do on the field. For now, Darius Slay and Nevin Lawson are atop the depth chart on the outside, and Quandre Diggs is the top inside cornerback. With a young group, Lions could add a veteran in free agency, but they could look for help in the draft.

But, after working out with Carter a few weeks ago, Hogan expects the Lions to be happy with him.

“He’ll try and bait you into things and be knowing what he’s doing the whole time,” Hogan said. “He’s a good student of the game.”

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

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