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New Acquisition Analysis: Cethan Carter

The Dolphins announced today they have signed tight end Cethan Carter. An undrafted free agent from Nebraska, Carter originally entered the league with Cincinnati, where he spent the first four years of his career.

The Film

Turn on the Bengals special teams reel and No. 82 is frequently seen. Whether it's getting down the field on kick coverage or laying a key block on a lengthy return, Carter carved out a career in the NFL via his special teams prowess.

That effort and open-field blocking is not exclusive to special teams. In a 2017 game against Indianapolis, Carter sprung running back Joe Mixon for 62 yards on a screen pass with a tremendous block 25 yards down the field on the safety.

The Fit

Since Head Coach Brian Flores' 2019 arrival, Miami deployed a fullback for 188 snaps. The Dolphins played the final game of the 2020 season without a rostered fullback following Chandler Cox's release.

Now, in Carter, Miami has a jack-of-all-trades. He's lined up as a traditional in-line tight end, as an H-back, an F (flex) and contributed substantially on special teams. Miami made a concerted effort to fortify the game's third phase last season and produced one of the league's top special teams units (finished sixth in Football Outsider’s DVOA).

The Stats (Courtesy of Pro Football Focus)

Since entering the league, Carter has finished among the top 50 in special teams tackles all three years (missed 2018 with an injury) with 24 career special teams stops. He's played 896 career snaps on special teams, earning a career-best 82.1 PFF grade in 2020.

Carter logged 368 career snaps on offense in three seasons – 212 of them as a run blocker. He's caught seven passes on 10 targets for 66 yards and a touchdown.

The Roster Impact

George Godsey's tight ends room was often referred to as the ‘muscle room’ by the inhabitants of it. Carter joins Mike Gesicki, Durham Smythe, Adam Shaheen and Chris Myarick as the multi-faceted member of the group.

The Conclusion

In a league where wins and losses are often determined by attention to detail in critical moments, depth and special teams talent are perpetual needs. Miami, much to the delight of Flores – who has previous special teams coaching experience – improved that area of the club dramatically in 2020, and this acquisition looks to build on that improvement in 2021.