CLEMSON — It was 5:43 p.m. on Friday, Day 2 of the 2018 NFL Draft, when Ryan Carter whipped out his cellphone to share together with his Twitter followers what precisely was on his thoughts.
The third spherical of the draft was wrapping up and rounds Four-7 can be held Saturday. Undrafted free company signings would start instantly after the ultimate spherical.
The anticipation was constructing for a former undersized Clemson cornerback who has identified nothing however doubt his whole faculty profession.
“All I ever wanted was an opportunity,” Carter wrote.
And then it got here.
About 24 hours later, Carter was celebrating after signing a free company contract that can outline the following step of his profession. He now heads to Buffalo the place he will battle tooth and nail to earn a roster spot with the Bills after no one drafted him in 256 picks.
At 5-9, 180 kilos, he will hear that he is simply too small and is not constructed for the world’s highest stage soccer. But that is nothing new for Carter. He’s heard all of it earlier than, and he’s proved his doubters fallacious each step of the best way.
“I’m not a big, tall guy, so I’ve just always felt like if I could just bring some physicality and bring some effort, some toughness, then the rest will take care of itself,” Carter mentioned within the fall. “I definitely heard it — heard a lot that I wasn’t going to be able to (play elite college football) because of my height and things of that nature. But I just try to come out with a chip on my shoulder.”
It appears to be working.
When Carter was in highschool, not solely was he undersized and an under-the-radar prospect, however except for Clemson, no different Power 5 colleges thought he can be value a scholarship supply. A local of Georgia, Carter had curiosity from Georgia and Georgia Tech, however neither took the following step.
Then, he acquired to Clemson and confronted the truth of outsiders assuming he was solely there as a result of Clemson was hoping to land his shut good friend and touted recruit, Robert Nkemdiche. Finally, when Carter graduated as a everlasting group co-captain and mainstay within the secondary tied for third in Clemson historical past for video games performed, he didn’t get invited to the NFL Combine.
“That’s a joke,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney mentioned on the time. “It really is.”
Which brings Carter to the place he is now.
In the previous, a few of the NFL’s most embellished Hall of Famers have made their mark through the free company route, together with an eight-time Pro Bowler with Carter’s new group. Offensive sort out Jason Peters turned a draft snub into an elite profession with the Buffalo Bills. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo additionally went undrafted, as did St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner and Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon, together with many others.
Carter ought to be greater than snug having to battle from behind and show pundits fallacious. He has finished it many occasions earlier than, and if Swinney was a betting man, he’d put his cash on Carter doing it once more.
“It’s like I told Adam (Humphries), ‘You ain’t going to get invited to the combine, nobody’s going to talk to you at Pro Day, but you’re going to make it,’” Swinney mentioned. “Ryan’s going to be simply high-quality. If somebody offers him a good, reputable shot, he’ll make it.
“He’ll be prepared when his time comes.”
That time is now.
Follow Grace Raynor on Twitter @gmraynor