Hello and welcome to the inaugural edition of the 2023 NFL Draft Focus. In this series, we will look at the incoming prospects hoping for their names to be heard on draft night. Be sure to check often as we will produce content until the event’s start.
Jalen Carter is a Defensive Tackle prospect from Apopka, Florida. In the class of 2020, Carter was ranked the 49th best prospect according to Rivals. As a defensive tackle, he was ranked #5 for his position and #9 in the state overall. As a senior, he had a dominant season with Apopka High School, where he had 12 sacks. He committed to play for the Georgia Bulldogs in 2019.
As a freshman, Jalen Carter played sparingly. In eight games, he gathered just 12 tackles and scored a TD reception. In his sophomore year, that’s when he exploded onto the scene. As a sophomore, he was named to the 2021 Second Team All-SEC. He had three sacks and 31 tackles in the 12 games he played.
2022-2023 COLLEGE CAREER
There were a lot of uncertainties for the 2022-2023 Georgia Bulldogs as a record number of players were drafted into the NFL. Among the 15 players drafted, an NFL draft record, five were taken in the 1st round. Four more defensive players were drafted later on. Even with all the drafted players, Georgia had a deep enough defensive pool in order to be a contender to repeat. One of them was Jalen Carter.
As a junior, Carter missed five games due to an MCL injury. When he was on the field, he was a force to handle. He had 18 tackles and 25 total pressures which were 17 QB pressures, five QB hits, and three sacks. His impressive season in Georgia led him to a 2022 First Team All-SEC.
The presence of Jalen Carter is a big factor to why he’s being hailed as one of the best prospects in the draft. One thing you can be assured of is a high pressure rate. With the QB being the most heralded position in the league, a DT who can wreck the game is very valuable. With this presence, he is often double-teamed and defenses can take advantage of this. His mix of strength and power make him a top prospect.
WEAKNESSES: Injury Concerns
As a junior, Jalen Carter did miss five games due to a MCL injury. Now, with his projection in top five, teams will be very cautious with his medical. To draft a player this high with a possible injury concern can be a red flag for teams. Players have slipped due to this. He does have other weaknesses such as no response to a double team or consistency but these can be developed and trained at the NFL.
PLAYER COMPARISON: Warren Sapp
TEAMS WHO COULD DRAFT HIM
Multiple mock drafts have him in the top 5 and some have him as the first defensive player taken. This is with multiple scouts and analysts calling him the best defensive prospect and even the best prospect overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. Some pegged him #1 overall if the Chicago Bears keep the pick. If a trade does happen and a QB is selected first, look at Arizona and Seattle in the top 5 to possibly take him and shore up the defensive line.