Just a month ago, the NFL draft looked a lot different then it does today. The Bears had the number one pick, and it was a real possibility that they were going to use it on defensive tackle Jalen Carter from the University of Georgia. However, in March of 2023, Carter was charged with reckless driving and racing in regards to the crash that killed offensive lineman Devin Willock and a recruiting staff member of the Georgia Bulldogs following the National Championship parade in January. On March 1, Carter left the combine and was jailed before quickly posting bond. Carter has also had run-ins with the law in the past, such as getting a speeding ticket from Georgia police.
Physically, Carter struggled at his Pro-Day in Athens. Carter only participated in measurements at the combine due to his arrest warrant, and just two weeks later in Athens he was nine pounds heavier. At Pro-Day, Carter took part in positional drills and struggled towards the end of his workout. He was unable to finish drills due to cramping and heavy breathing.
While Carter’s legal troubles are by no means excusable, there is no doubt that Carter has talent. He was an absolute stud that played an essential role in both of Georgia’s National Championships. He is well-rounded, quick off the line, and has strong hands. Teammates love him and head coach Kirby Smart has highlighted his toughness and dedication countless times. However, Carter’s flashes of immaturity combined with a lackluster Pro-Day leads many to believe that he will drop in the draft. If he drops to nine, it would be hard for General Manager Ryan Poles to pass on what is considered to be the best defensive prospect in the 2023 draft.