Jalen Carter Draft Profile
There are certain players that I can’t sit down and watch, and Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter would fall into that category. When watching Carter I have to stand up out of my chair because he is that damn good. He is the type of player that I brag about to my friends; he is what they call a generational talent. The obvious elephant in the room is his off-field character. He plead no contest to reckless driving charges on the day of the combine which prevented him from participating on the on-field drills. He gained nine pounds leading up to his pro-day and has refused to take any pre-draft meetings with teams picking outside of the top-ten. Not to make excuses for him, but you could imagine that being arrested causes a ton of stress and prevents one from conditioning the same way if he hadn’t. As for not meeting with teams outside of the top-ten, I am not a fan of this because a team can always trade up, but the Eagles probably told him that he is not making it past them. I do not agree with the reasoning, but that is most likely the reason for his actions. If it was not for Carter’s character concerns, I do not see a world where Carter makes it out of the top three picks. He is arguably the best player in the draft, but his off-the-field character may prevent him from becoming just that.
When I am evaluating interior defensive linemen, the most important thing to me is strength and violence; the ability to overpower the man directly in front of him and make a play in the back field. Carter’s bullrush is devastating; it all starts with his get off and pad level. He is explosive off the ball and gets more knock back at initial contact than I have ever seen from a college 3-tech. It is rare to get a defensive linemen that is the full-package: speed, power, and quickness, but Carter has coalesced all of his attributes into becoming an incredibly well-rounded player. He makes up so much ground on his first three steps and is an initiator of contact. There are only a handful of guys in the NFL who are able to shed blocks at the same level as Carter. His hand usage is extremely advanced; against the run he has demonstrated the ability to press his block and disengage. One of the more rare parts of his game is his ability to see beyond his block. He never gets too occupied with the initial blocker in front of him, which allows him to constantly find the ball once he beats his block.
As a pass rusher, Carter has an arsenal of moves to get to the quarterback, but it starts with his bull rush. He is able to work off of his bull with a club-throwby, rip, swim, and occasional hump move as well. To counter his power-moves, Carter has the upper body quickness to lean a guard one way, slip him, then get back in his gap. Carter is a bowl in a china-shop; he breaks everything around him and is consistently making splash contact behind the line of scrimmage. Carter does not just make his hay in the interior; he has demonstrated the ability to bend around offensive tackles and win with speed on the outside. Offensive coordinators game plan around Carter; I have seen him beat triple teams to get to the quarterback. Whether he is at nose tackle, three-technique, five-techinque, or playing a shade, Carter is relentless and willing to do anything to make a play.
I have already addressed Carter’s major concerns, none which have to do with his level of play. On the field, I do not have a ton of major concerns, but a few tweaks in his game. The first are in regards to his pursuit angles. He goes all out when trying to bring down the quarterback, which enable quarterbacks like CJ Stroud and Anthony Richardson to side step him. That same relentlessness and desire for making a play can cause him to leave his gap responsibility opening up a hole to run through for the quarterback or running back. Against Ohio State’s tempo offense at the end of the game, Carter looked exhausted. That on top of his questionable pro-day workout could call his conditioning a concern. With that being said, once he is apart of the NFL training program he is not going to have any issues with endurance. It is hard to criticize Carter’s on-field play without getting overly nit-picky.
If it was not obvious, Jalen Carter is my number one player in this entire draft. He is not just well-rounded, but he is elite at different facets of his game and has rare potential. With that being said, the story of Jalen Carter may not be determined by what he does on the field, but how he behaves off of it. If Carter’s pre-draft troubles end up being a one time thing (which I expect them to be), he could very well end up being the best player in the draft. His strength, explosiveness, and ability to shed blocks remind me a lot of Jeffery Simmons. He is one of those players that can play anywhere, but the Bears are my favorite fit for him. I don’t see him falling past the Eagles at pick ten, but if I was a general manager on a non-quarterback needy team I would take him first overall. Carter has the best film out of any player in the draft, and has a chance to be a perennial all-pro.
Strength + Violence: 11.5/12
Quickness + Explosion: 9/10
Block Shed + Point of Contact: 9.25/10
Play-Making + Disruptiveness: 7.25/8
Instincts + Intelligence: 6.5/8
Speed + Bend: 6.5/8
Effort + Relentlessness: 6.75/8
Length + Hand Usage: 5/6
Final Rating: 88
Pro Comparison: Jeffery Simmons
Team Fits: Bears, Raiders, Cardinals, Every Team
Draft Projection: Top 10 Pick
Draft Grade: #1 Player