We’re all well aware of Jalen Carter’s off the field issues leading up to this year’s NFL Draft. The consensus No. 1 prospect on the field leading up to draft night, Carter ended up slipping all the way to ninth overall, where the Eagles moved up one spot to secure him.
Now that the 2023 NFL Draft is behind us, there’s been some reports regarding Carter’s slip and what may have contributed to it. On Monday, ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio revealed what he was told about Carter leading up to draft day.
Florio on what he heard about Jalen Carter pre-draft:
“When it comes to defensive tackle Jalen Carter, the word making the rounds before the draft was that the Georgia coaches did not have nice things to say. (We specifically decided not to mention any of that until after he was picked, so as not to participate in the pre-draft effort to get guys to fall.)
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media hinted at that last night after Carter became the ninth overall pick in the draft. We’ve heard it more bluntly and strongly. Members of the Georgia coaching staff are not Jalen Carter fans, and they weren’t bashful about saying so.
It’s one of various reasons why Carter — arguably the best player in the draft — slipped to No. 9.”
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A few takeaways from this. First, I respect Florio for holding onto this information until after the draft ended. Jalen Carter was dealing with a lot of scrutiny heading into draft night; no need to pile on with something like this if it’s already making the rounds in NFL war rooms.
Secondly, the lack of any details about what was specifically said about Jalen Carter by his coaches does invoke some skepticism. Is it that bad that Florio feels uncomfortable airing it out? I don’t think he’d write an article about it if he felt that way. So, it’s just a little weird to make such a damning claim and then not back it up with the details.
If I had to guess what Jalen Carter’s coaches told NFL teams, it’s probably the kind of stuff you or I could have pointed out. His pro day workout – where Carter showed up nine pounds heavier than he was at the combine and abruptly quit halfway through because he was gassed – is probably where a lot of this is coming from.
Teams are going to want answers after such a lack luster workout. Georgia doesn’t want to get a bad rep sticking up for a guy who isn’t taking his pro day seriously. So, Georgia told teams what we all saw – a guy who was unfocused during arguably the most important workout of his life.
That probably made me sound like a huge Carter hater. I assure you I am not. But, I would be a lot more weary about this selection if it weren’t for the outstanding leadership the Eagles have in place. From veterans like Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, to his former teammates at Georgia in Nolan Smith, Jordan Davis, and Nakobe Dean, Carter couldn’t have gone to a better situation to flourish.
If Carter doesn’t mature and his work ethic doesn’t improve, it’ll be completely on him. And to be clear, it would be difficult for Carter to fuck this up. With his immense talent and the leadership surrounding him, it’s all there for Carter’s taking if he wants it. At this juncture, I’m more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
>> Read More: Howie Roseman, Nick Sirianni rightfully defend Jalen Carter in post draft interview after Reuben Frank from NBC Sports Philly shares his personal opinion about ‘accountability’
Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports