It's tough to get excited about a soon to be 28 year old, 303 pound nose tackle that missed all of 2009 before returning as an ultra-situational player in 2010. So, let's not?
If you have heard the name "Jay Alford" but do not remember when or why, think back to the New York Giants upset victory over the then-undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Alford started, subbed as a long snapper and sacked Tom Brady in the closing seconds, helping to seal the Giants victory. His playing time increased in 2008, but he never really broke through. He tore his MCL and was placed on injured reserve prior to the 2009 season, then was cut prior to the 2010 season. Alford signed with the Raiders and reprised his role as situational pass rusher.
Assuming Alford ever challenges for a roster spot, his Always Compete buddy would be Craig Terrill. Both are single gap tackles that penetrate and disrupt. Both are exposed if matched too consistently against the run. And both are best employed as a minor part of a tackle rotation, subbing in on nickel and dime packages and on passing downs.
Brindley returns to the churn for a second season. Seattle signed him last year and cut him not too long after. He was a standout safety at Utah State, but as is often the case, a standout that excelled but showed little potential to make it in the pros. So this is his life for a little while: lots of camp, lots of practice, signing contracts with big money mentioned but close to unattainable, and ignoring it all to give his all in a most likely futile pursuit. Brindley's upside is a special teams standout and emergency depth. Think Etric Pruitt, but subtract some size. More than likely though, Brindley will show up early, work late, buy in, hustle his ass off, push the vets, and be cut. Not a bad few months for a 22 year old. Still sort of depressing.
Take it from someone that knows: It's a drag having a common name. And so, if you don't know who Carter is but chuckle because his name looks a lot like Randy Moss's possession receiver complement, since retired, you are my mortal enemy. No. No.
Carter is interesting for two simple reasons: He slipped through the cracks during the draft process. Carter was invited to the 2010 NFL Combine but failed his physical. It's not too, too hard to see raw talent in a wide receiver, and so finding value requires some kind of exception. Playing FCS football and missing the NFL Combine despite being invited qualifies.
The other reason Carter is interesting is because he was pretty good at UC Davis. He didn't excel in the way a small school prospect must to really command attention, but had sustained success over three seasons. He was the Great West Coast Football Conference rookie of the year in 2006, missed most of 2007 because of injury, then rebounded in 2008 and 2009.
Carter's a long shot and maybe not even one with a ton of upside, but you never know. You never know is a less highfalutin distillation of Always Compete. If it means exploring every available talent with a pulse, well Pete and John, I buy in.