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NFL Draft Profile: Jalen Carter

School: Georgia

Position: DT

Year: Junior

The Good: In a year without many can’t-miss prospects – I usually can’t stand that summation of draft classes but actually agree with it for the most part for 2023 – Jalen Carter is likely the most dominant on-field player of the whole bunch. Carter is a monster when he’s playing at 100%; he’s damn near impossible to stop if he gets underneath or hits the inside shoulder of an interior lineman. Carter gets past blockers with remarkable quickness and he does so consistently, to the point where there were actually too many immediate pass rush wins up the middle for me to list while evaluating his tape. Carter has truly absurd power and strength from head to toe; he can basically shot put offensive linemen. Carter is an excellent run defender too, as he reliably fills gaps and can absorb any and all blocks while standing his ground. He has extremely quick hands to shed blocks, and he’s great at getting his hands up in passing lanes too. Carter required constant double teams in the back half of his tenure at Georgia, where he still was able to make a direct impact on plays.

The Bad: There aren’t many natural flaws to Carter’s game, though I do think there are a few. In grinding his tape, I caught him off balance more than I expected as a casual observer of his games. Carter explodes towards QBs as well as any DT prospect I’ve personally graded, though I don’t think he’s as special when it comes to making tight turns in the pocket. Like I mentioned, Carter has great hands and is already a stout run defender, but I think he can get even better in that regard with more consistency. He misses with his initial strike sometimes too. Besides that, I think the low points in Carter’s tape mainly boil down to effort – which is somewhat expected for a 315-pounder on a high snap count but also fair to write personally about Carter. He doesn’t always fight back too well when he loses initial engagement, and he loses the pad level battle more than you’d like to see from him. 

The Bottom Line: The pre-Draft saga of Jalen Carter obviously isn’t all about his on-field performance. Hell, I’d say it’s even less than 50% about it at this point. I want to do my best to stick to Jalen Carter as a player in this summary, even if teams are weighing the selection of Carter as a player and a person. I just don’t know the kid nor do I know people who do know the kid, and I’ve been burnt in the past by downgrading prospects for off-field stuff when the NFL willingly overlooks a lot of it. Still, I expect to slightly downgrade Carter on my Big Board after all of these developments – especially the out-of-shape and incomplete Pro Day performance – when I already noted him acting out and playing with low energy on tape. I do think he falls a bit further in the Draft itself than people are projecting come April 27 too, though whoever does land Carter will be adding a scheme-proof player with the ability to shut down an opposing offense almost by himself.

Grade: Top 10 Pick

Pro Comp: Ndamukong Suh

Games Watched:

  • Clemson 2021
  • Kentucky 2021
  • Alabama 2021
  • Oregon 2022
  • Florida 2022
  • Tennessee 2022
  • LSU 2022

Plays That Matter [LINK]


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