In the eighteenth of Thin Air’s series on considerations for the Broncos Ring of Fame is Rubin Carter (1975-1986).
Here is Bob’s take on why Carter is an underrated Bronco:
Nose tackle is one of the least glamorous positions in the NFL. The primary objectives of a nose tackle are to stop the run and to draw as much attention away from offensive linemen as possible so the rest of the defensive front can get in there and get to the quarterback.
Those were Carter’s objectives during his time with the Broncos. As a result, he got even less attention than [Barney] Chavous did. Trying to evaluate him from a statistical standpoint is tough, because when sacks were kept as an official state, he tallied five in three seasons, before he lost his starting job in 1986 to another player (who I will get to later).
That lack of glamorous production is no doubt a reason why many Broncos fans don’t appreciate Carter’s contributions. But PFF ranks Carter 14th overall in terms of approximate value to the franchise. So perhaps revisiting Carter’s Ring of Fame case is in order.
Getting a better idea of how nose tackles contribute to a defense will need to come from people who paid particular focus to what they did. One example is this 1998 article from Richard Deitsch that can give you a better idea of what Carter was about. I’d also imagine that talking to Carter’s teammates and coaches would be a valuable form of input to consider his case further. Deitsch cited Simon Fletcher and Rulon Jones as two mentors that could be a good start.