Is Cowboys' Bruce Carter the next Derrick Brooks?


Dallas Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter has been studying tape of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers great Derrick Brooks ever since Monte Kiffin came over to coordinate the defense.

Brooks was the prototypical Tampa 2 weak-side linebacker, with the range to cover like a defensive back and the closing speed to stuff the running game. The coaching staff has high expectations for Carter as he takes on Brooks' old role.

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"Everybody's just been hitting me with it -- Derrick Brooks, Derrick Brooks. That's a good thing," Carter said via "He was always around the ball. He was always flying around. He was a playmaker. He was always in the right position at the right time. That's something I want to do."

Carter was emerging as a defensive star before a dislocated elbow ended his 2012 season in November. He has a long way to go before he can match Brooks' 11 Pro Bowl appearances, but it helps that Kiffin's scheme is a natural fit for his talents.

There may be no faster linebacker in the NFL. Carter reportedly clocked a 4.39 40-yard dash before a torn anterior cruciate ligament ended his North Carolina career. Perhaps even more impressively, he ran down Atlanta Falcons speedster Julio Jones last season.

Don't be surprised if Carter and middle linebacker Sean Lee both earn their first Pro Bowl nods this season.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.