Washington Football Team: Can DeAndre Carter be a poor man’s Ted Ginn?

Jun 9, 2021; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Football Team wide receiver DeAndre Carter (16) catches a pass during drills as part of minicamp at Inova Sports Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 9, 2021; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Football Team wide receiver DeAndre Carter (16) catches a pass during drills as part of minicamp at Inova Sports Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

When the Washington Football Team signed WR DeAndre Carter in April, there was not a peep from the media, and the move wasn’t met with much fanfare.

But then again, could you blame the lack of attention? Here’s a player who was waived by the Ravens, Raiders, Patriots, 49ers, Eagles, Texans, before spending time with the Bears, prior to signing in Washington. He’s basically the Ryan Fitzpatrick of wide receivers, having been a part of 1/4 of the teams in the league.

All kidding aside though, Carter has done nothing but impress since he has joined the organization. Not only has he shown his receiving ability throughout training camp, but on Washington’s first unofficial depth chart, he found himself slotted ahead of Steven Sims as the No. 1 punt returner.

If Carter continues his strong play throughout the preseason, don’t be surprised to see him sneak onto the roster.

Can DeAndre Carter serve a Ted Ginn-type role for the Washington Football Team?

In 2013, in Coach Ron Rivera’s third year as Panthers’ head coach, he decided to bring in Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn was entering his 7th season, having played for the Dolphins and 49ers.

When he was brought in, Rivera was excited about having depth at receiver, but more than that, he was happy to add a player who could contribute on special teams.

"“The interesting thing about Ted is he gives us some depth at wide receiver who can challenge for playing time opportunity, said Rivera. “But also he’s got special teams value, which is big.”"

Before joining the Panthers, Ginn was averaging 12.0 yard per touch, 10.96 yards per punt return, and 23.2 yards per kickoff return.

Fast forward to 2021, in Rivera’s second year with the Football Team, he brought in Carter. Now the signing wasn’t met with the same fanfare, but again we are comparing an undrafted free agent to a player that was drafted No. 9 overall in the NFL Draft.

However, Carter is no slouch himself, having finished as FCS Wide Receiver of the Year and earning First-team FCS All-American honors in his senior year.

With the Football Team revamping their receiver room with the addition of Curtis Samuel, Adam Humphries, and Dyami Brown, Carter might not receive many receiving opportunities. Having said that, he’s shown his ability when he gets his hands on the ball.

Over his career, he has a 82.9% catch percentage, which far surpasses that of Steven Sims (65.6%), Isaiah Wright (77.1%), Kelvin Harmon (68.2%), and Antonio Gandy-Golden (14.3%), who he is competing with for one of the final WR roster spots.

Although Carter hasn’t played many snaps throughout his career, he has shown his skills when he has gotten starts. In his 7 career starts, he has 15 receptions for 137 yards for a healthy 9+ yards per reception and also has three games where he had six receptions.

Throughout training camp, he has shown his skills as a receiver, especially in the red zone, grabbing three receptions, including a touchdown catch during red zone drills on July 31. He followed that up with a 25-yard touchdown reception in the end zone a few practices later, before grabbing a contested touchdown over Jimmy Moreland in the end zone the following week.

Coach Rivera has said Carter “looks good with the ball in his hands” and has mentioned his ability as a returner could provide some flexibility to the roster.

Carter’s real value comes in with his return game skills. Now, obviously, we can’t compare him one-to-one to Ginn, who finished his career as one of the best returners in the game, but Carter’s numbers do stack up fairly well.

Thus far in his career, Carter has averaged 11.2 yards per touch, 9.3 yards per punt return, and 21.8 yards per kick return. In 2019, he finished third in the league in yards/punt return (9.7).

Washington, on the other hand, has continued to struggle in the return game, sporting the worst punt return average in the NFL since 2017, averaging a measly 5.7 yards per return in that span.

At 5-foot-8 and190 pounds, Carter is definitely on the smaller side, but let’s not forget that one of Washington’s best punt returners, Brandon Banks, was just 5-foot-7 and 150 pounds.

As the saying goes, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Let’s see if Carter is able to continue his strong play through preseason and fight his way onto the roster.

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