The San Francisco 49ers need all the pass-rushing help they can get via the NFL Draft. One of those players, TCU edge rusher Josh Carraway, could wind up being the proverbial “diamond in the rough” in the later rounds.
Unless the San Francisco 49ers are banking on edge rushers Aaron Lynch, Tank Carradine and/or Eli Harold turning up the heat in 2017, they’ll need to bring in some pass-rushing prowess via the 2017 NFL Draft.
Thankfully, this year’s draft is laden with EDGE talent. And we should expect the Niners to target at least a couple of pass-rushers at various points.
One of those should be TCU EDGE Josh Carraway.
CBS Sports projects Carraway to go in Round 6, which gives ample time for San Francisco to address other positions. They’ll need to. But teams can never have too many pass-rushers, and Carraway is a good choice to add depth here.
Heck, he even made it on one of Niner Noise’s most recent mock drafts.
Josh Carraway’s Stat Lines
The 6-foot-3, 242-pound Carraway started all four years for the Horned Frogs along the defensive line. His frame allows him to seamlessly fit in at the LEO edge-rusher position in San Francisco’s 4-3 base front.
Carraway was also one of only a few bright spots for TCU last season, registering eight sacks, for the second consecutive year, as well as 11 tackles for a loss:
|*2012||Texas Christian||Big 12||FR||DL||4||0||4||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0|
|*2014||Texas Christian||Big 12||SO||DE||12||10||23||33||5.0||2.0||1||33||33.0||1||0||1||1|
|*2015||Texas Christian||Big 12||JR||DE||12||24||22||46||10.5||8.0||0||0||0||2||3||56||1||1|
|2016||Texas Christian||Big 12||SR||DE||13||25||24||49||11.0||8.0||0||0||0||0||0||1|
A 4.74 40-yard-dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine suggests he has good speed for a player of his size and stature. That should come in handy getting into the backfield.
Breaking Down the Scouting Reports
Carraway has a number of positive attributes to like, especially at the back end of the draft.
He has the potential to be explosive and can mix a number of different moves to get past blockers.
But there are some question marks about his game, namely his physicality and meanness — essential traits for a pass-rusher.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein broke these down:
"Playing demeanor is too kind. Needs to inject some dog in his play. Lightweight at setting the edge. Gets jostled around far too easily to be trusted against the run. Needs to cut hands loose earlier in the rep and with more purpose. Content to ride on blocks rather than fight his way through them. Passive at point of attack and rarely imposes his will downhill."
Zierlein also questions Carraway’s technique, which will be essential in mastering some of the best left tackles at the NFL level.
Still, there’s more to like here than not, which makes this an enticing pick.
Looking at Josh Carraway’s Film
This DraftBreakdown.com video on Carraway, when TCU hosted Arksansas displays both the good and bad:
Carraway can get fooled on misdirection plays, and it isn’t too difficult for offensive linemen to take him out of the play altogether. And he isn’t particularly great at setting the edge, particularly against the run.
But at the 2:22 point of the video, we can see Carraway use his speed to get around his blocker, which results in a sack. Once within the pocket, Carraway’s relentless abilities show.
Here’s a concise breakdown of his strengths, courtesy of @MyColtsAccount:
The conclusion? Carraway is a solid pass-rushing specialist on obvious passing downs. He would never have been a fit in former defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil’s scheme.
But under current 49ers coordinator Robert Saleh, things could be vastly different.
Identifying the 49ers Need
San Francisco will probably have at least one good-or-better pass-rusher by the time Round 6 rolls around. Or so we hope.
But that would still leave players like Lynch, Carradine and Harold as primary backups.
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Lynch might be able to save his career, but the other two haven’t produced much of anything at the NFL level. Carradine especially. So it wouldn’t hurt at all to give Carraway a shot at competing for depth within a rebuilding front seven.
The 49ers need the help here. And while Carraway probably won’t become an everyday starter for San Francisco’s defense, his ceiling is high enough to warrant some serious consideration.
So go take a look at him, John Lynch. He’d be worth your while.