For several years now the Dallas Cowboys have tried to find a long-term solution at right defensive in opposite DeMarcus Lawrence with very little luck. They've invested quite a bit over the years searching for the right player, but as of yet have been unable to come up with the answer. Maybe, just maybe, former James Madison DE Ron'Dell Carter can break that trend.
Over the years the Dallas Cowboys have trotted out a number of players they had hoped would lay claim to the starting job opposite D-Law. Players like Tyrone Crawford, Randy Gregory, Robert Quinn, and Taco Charlton had their chance, but none of them were able to stick. Maybe a fresh set of eyes and new Defensive Line Coach (Jim Tomsula) can change that.
Enter Ron'Dell Carter.
As you probably already know, Ron'Dell Carter was one of the Dallas Cowboys undrafted free agent signings after the completion of the 2020 NFL Draft and as such has a long ways to go before being considered anything more than a long shot to make the team. Considering the Cowboys track record of finding UDFA hidden gems though, Carter might have as good a chance as any DE.
The Dallas Cowboys obviously thought pretty highly of Carter coming out of James Madison. They may not have used one of their draft picks to secure his services, but they did pay handsomely to convince him Dallas should be his home for the next several years. In fact, he received one of the largest guarantees handed out to undrafted free agents.
Amongst the largest guarantees handed out to undrafted rookies
▫️Jaguars CB Luq Barcoo: $180K ($20K SB)
▫️Saints LB Joe Bachie: $160K ($15K SB)
▫️ Bucs QB Reid Sinnet: $152,800 ($10K SB)
▫️Chiefs OL Yasir Durant: $150K ($10K SB)
▫️ Cowboys DE Ron'Dell Carter: $145K ($20K SB)
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 12, 2020
Surprisingly, the Dallas Cowboys have had some success with James Madison edge rushers in the past. That just so happened to be Charles Haley's alma mater and the Cowboys are probably hoping lightning can strike twice.
Now Ron'Dell Carter is no Charles Haley, but he is a piece of moldable clay Jim Tomsula can hopefully help turn into a star. That's all any coach can ask for in a player and Carter definitely has some likable intangibles to work with.
The 6'3″, 269 pound DE seems to have all the traits Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan is wanting in his pass rushers. Wanting to play more of a hybrid defense, Nolan is looking for players capable of planning multiple roles, something Carter has experience doing in a hybrid 4-2-5/4-3 defense at James Madison.
At James Madison, Carter racked up 152 total tackles over three years. He also had 48 tackles for loss, 23.5 quarterback sacks (ninth all-time in school history), four passes defensed, and two forced fumbles. He capped off his collegiate career with a 12 sack performance his senior season.
Ron'Dell Carter may be a small school prospect, but he had some serious buzz following the draft and had offers from the majority of the league before deciding to sign with the Dallas Cowboys. He may be a longshot to be anything more than just a contributor early on, but his intangibles could make him a legitimate candidate to be the long-term starter opposite DeMarcus Lawrence in time.