By losing a devastating pass rusher like Javon Hargrave this offseason, the Eagles are in need of a pro-bowl caliber replacement. Luckily for the Birds there is a beast lurking in the body of a 22-year-old from The University of Georgia. Defensive Tackle Jalen Carter is a 6’3 314 pounds with quick hands and off the ball speed that men his size shouldn’t possess. He may be the best defensive player in the draft, but since the Eagles don’t pick until number 10 in the first round, how could he possibly drop to us? Well that my Eagles family, is the dilemma. He could be too toxic to touch for the nine teams that go before the birds.
Top 3 Prospect
Carter grew up in Apopka, Florida, where he dominated at Apopka High School and earned himself a football scholarship to University of Georgia Bulldogs. Each year with the “Dawgs” he improved, earning a good chunk of snaps in his freshmen and sophomore years. But when he took over as the starter at his DT2 position in his junior year he showed the country what he was capable of, mauling opposing centers and guards with his quick hand chops and shooting gaps on his way to earning not only a second team All-SEC but also the first of his 2 consecutive National Championships. Jalen wasn’t finished there, in his senior year he played even better and earned himself first team All-SEC this time as well as another National Championship.
After this stellar collegiate career all the Todd McShay and Mel Kiper “draft experts” on ESPN had him coming off the board in the top 3-5 picks of the first round. But then the first red flag popped up.
On January 15, 2023, at approximately 2:45 am a serious car crash occurred resulting in the deaths of UGA staff member Chandler Louise LeCroy and Georgia teammate of Carter’s Devin Alex Wilock. The crash occurred after a party celebrating the team’s second straight National Championship earlier in the evening. The police surmise that two cars were drag racing reaching speeds of over 100 mph. Jalen Carter was driving the car that was racing Chandler LeCroy. Police charged Carter of reckless driving and street racing.
A few days later news broke that Jalen Carter was cited previously three times during the fall semester. Two times by campus authorities and the third by the Athens Police Department. He was going 90 mph in a 45-mph zone. Carter was sentenced to 12 months probation, a $1000 fine and 80 hours of community service. Unfortunately, this was only the first speed bump (pun intended) on Carter’s journey to the NFL.
At the combine, Carter only participated in positional drills, with no 40-yard dash. He had to leave Indianpolis abruptly due to his legal troubles. The second red flag was his pro day at University of Georgia. Teams were looking forward to seeing what they didn’t get a chance to see during the combine. Unfortunately, they were let down again. Jalen showed up 9 pounds heavier and was so winded that he couldn’t even finish his positional drills.
Too Toxic to Touch at 10?
Is Jalen Carter too toxic to touch at the 10th pick of the first round? Look there is 100% no doubt that somewhere in that 6’3 frame there is All-Pro talent waiting to show itself. In the games I watched he shows as a defender with odd or even front versatility. He has rare blend of first-step quickness and can leverage through contact. That first step will have opposing guards looking back at their running back planted four yards in the backfield. His hands can be violent or subtle, and his footwork is always active and searching for an opening. Based upon all this talent, these traits, and natural instinct he is ready to be a 3 down Pro-Bowl DT in the NFL.
But in the end, I’m not the guy who will have to invest millions of dollars into a kid who isn’t exactly throwing out “Most Mature Rookie Award” vibes. I think based on his immense talent I would take him. The last things you want to see from a 300 pound plus DT is weight and behavioral issues, however, I have a good feeling about him. Hopefully the coaches and organization will make sure all that college nonsense is out of his system. If he drops to ten and the Eagles take him, they won’t be missing Hargrave at all.
Joe Melito Jr.
Writer for Edge of Philly Sports
Photo Credit: Jason.Getz@ajc.com