During his final year of high school, Carl Granderson put up tremendous numbers for Grant in the Sacramento, CA area. He totaled 172 tackles, 15.0 sacks, and 34.0 tackles for loss, all of which led his team which made it to the California Division 1 state semifinals. He added a further two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. Interest from major programs was muted, however, as he received just one Power Five scholarship offer from Washington State. In the end, he took his talents to the Mountain West by committing to Wyoming.
Granderson contributed right off the bat once he got to Laramie. He saw action in all 12 games as a true freshman, totaling 36 tackles, six tackles for loss, and a sack. He was poised for a breakout sophomore campaign that likely would’ve earned him all-conference recognition before suffering a torn ACL six games into the campaign. Prior to the injury, he forced six tackles for loss and four sacks while also adding a pass breakup and a forced fumble.
In 2017, Granderson successfully rebounded from the adversity he experienced the season prior. He stayed healthy all year and led the Mountain West with 16 tackles for loss while his 9.5 sacks led the Cowboys and were good enough for second-best in the conference. It resulted in him making the all-MWC first team. In the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl that year, he recovered a fumble and took it for a 58-yard scoop and score. His stats took a bit of a drop as a senior as he managed just three sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss. But he did add a career-high three pass breakups.
frame sports impressive length with 34″ arms;
plays with active hands and knows how to use them to defeat the opponent;
functional in terms of being able to press the pocket with bullrush;
can play as a down lineman or upright as a standup end;
determined in pursuit when the play develops over to the perimeter;
always looking to wiggle into the B-gap with outside-in move;
has a slippery spin counter that’s tough to defend;
brings a coverage dimension to the table having totaled three interceptions and six passes defended.
needs to add more muscle mass to augment play strength;
pad level has a tendency to fall forward resulting in contact balance issues;
could improve ability to generate leverage at the point of attack;
doesn’t show much in terms of high-level edge bend flexibility;
read and react instincts are subpar when defending the run;
was a virtual non-factor against top tackle prospect Andre Dillard in 2018;
Granderson certainly brings the physical traits NFL teams search for in potential impact edge defenders. He’s long-armed and he uses them to good effect in the trenches. His initial burst and lateral athleticism are also strong points and he’s far from a one-trick pony in that he breaks out multiple pass rush moves. And he may have untapped potential as a power rusher that can be unleashed if he’s coached up.
But Granderson’s ceiling may be limited by the fact that too often he struggles to key and diagnose run plays. His play strength isn’t eye-popping and he operates in too upright a position which inhibits his ability to out-leverage tackles. It also prevents him from effectively turning the corner as an edge bender. He’ll certainly need some time in the weight room in order to go up against and mete out NFL-level power.
It seems as if Granderson’s best fit at the next level is in a 3-4 alignment as an outside linebacker. He’s a late-round developmental project who will probably need a few years before he becomes impactful in the league. And his issues in run defense might temper his every-down value. Still, teams needing to shore up their depth on the edge could be compelled to take him off the board at some point on day three of the draft.