When the Oakland Raiders selected TJ Carrie during the latter rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft, many focused on what Carrie would be bringing to the Oakland special teams and didn’t focus on Carrie’s talents as a cornerback coming out of Ohio University.
A seventh round pick, few could blame draft analysts for mainly focusing on Carrie’s speed and not his fundamentals at the cornerback position, but Carrie isn’t letting his draft status define him during the Raiders practices. After impressing during OTA’s and Minicamp, Carrie has continued to impress the coaching staff along with the media while in Napa.
Shining in the absence of 2013 first round selection DJ Hayden, Carrie even drew comparisons to a successful Denver Broncos success story during Allen’s tenure in Denver in Chris Harris who famously went from not being invited to the NFL Scouting Combine to being one of the Broncos top rookie performers in 2011.
From Allen’s Sunday press conference:
“To be honest with you, I relate it back to a kid that we had when I was in Denver: Chris Harris. He was an undrafted free agent, nobody really knew anything about him, and then every day you go out there and you watch him practice and every day he’s making a play that kind of catches your eye. At first, you don’t really think a whole lot of it until Day Three, Day Four, Day Five, Day Six, and he continues to make plays.
That’s really how TJ was. We drafted him in the seventh round. We thought he had some talent. We thought he had some ability, but I think he’s more mature than maybe I would have known from a rookie DB coming in from Ohio. He’s got a better understanding of what we’re asking him to do and what the offense is trying to do to him. I think just instinctively, I’ve been very impressed with his knowledge of the game.”
Carrie’s playmaking ability is all over his college numbers as during his career at Ohio the speedy cornerback amassed nine career interceptions, including four in both his junior and senior seasons with the Bobcats. Four of those interceptions last season were turned into touchdown returns that helped Carrie’s film stand out enough from the rest of the late round cornerbacks to convince the Raiders to take a player that their head coach has on his radar early this training camp. If Carrie can continue to make the plays he made while at Ohio, there may be a chance we see the seventh rounder continuing to grow his stock while playing time is up for grabs with Hayden on the shelf for the time being.