Considered the best non-quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft class, former Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter has been in the news for all the wrong reasons recently.
It was during the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis that Carter was charged by authorities in Athens for his involvement in a car accident that killed former teammate Devin Willock and Georgia staffer Chandler LeCroy back in January.
Taking part in the Georgia Pro Day on Wednesday, Carter showed up nine pounds heavier than the NFL Scouting Combine. He declined to run the 40-yard dash and couldn’t finish other position drills as the big man looked gassed throughout.
Despite his disastrous performance at the pro day, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart attempted to talk up Carter.
“I can speak to the competitive character of the young man. I got to see it every day in practice and every day in games. It shows tremendous, committed character to have two injuries that you could have quit playing [but came back]. He could have sat out the rest of the year.”Kirby Smart on Jalen Carter, via ESPN.com
The 6-foot-3 defensive lineman is quickly becoming a divisive figure as the 2023 NFL Draft process plays out.
Related: Updated 2023 NFL mock draft
On the field, there is a lot to like about what Carter brings to the table. He recorded seven tackles for loss and three sacks last season for a dominant Bulldogs team. He’s stellar against the run and can put consistent pressure on the quarterback.
At issue here is a lack of maturity off the field. Now, there’s some concern over Jalen Carter’s conditioning. None of this is indicative of the stud defensive tackle finding himself as a top-five pick when all is said and done.
Sportsnaut NFL insider Benjamin Allbright reports that Carter is “rubbing teams the wrong way” and will “go lower than people think.” However, Jalen Carter’s talent suggests it won’t be a typical “free fall.”
We shall see once the 2023 NFL Draft kicks off April 28 in Kansas City.