Jalen Carter NFL Draft Scouting Report
Jalen Carter NFL Draft Profile Introduction
The Georgia Bulldogs have always been a factory for producing top-notch NFL talent, and the 2023 draft class is no different. One player who has stood out among the rest is defensive tackle Jalen Carter. Standing at 6’3” and weighing in at 310 pounds, Jalen Carter is the 2nd-ranked prospect on our 2023 NFL draft big board.
Georgia’s defense was one for the history books in 2021. They lost a plethora of players that moved on to the NFL level, including five players selected as first round picks. Jordan Davis, who played alongside Carter at defensive tackles, had his name called 12th overall by the Philadelphia Eagles. If he had been eligible, Carter would’ve had his name called even earlier, as many believed that Carter was the most disruptive player on that historic 2021 defense.
Carter had to return after winning his first national championship in 2021, but all he did was bolster his draft stock even more and helped Georgia football win back-to-back national championships.
Player Comparison: Warren Sapp
Jalen Carter forty yard dash: 4.96 seconds
College Football Career
The Florida native out of Apopka high school was five star recruit. This was due in part to his exceptional athleticism, which he developed as a three-sport athlete in high school. Along with football, Carter played basketball and was also a weightlifter. In fact, he placed second in his heavyweight division by bench-pressing an impressive 395 pounds.
During his first two seasons with the team, Carter rotated in as a disruptive force on the field, before becoming the unchallenged starter in 2022. This was not due to lack of talent or hustle, but it was difficult for a young player to get much playing time on a stacked defensive.
In his one year as the starter, Carter was selected for the Associated Press & Coaches’ All-SEC First Team. He played in 11 games, starting in seven, and recorded a total of 29 tackles and 25 QB hurries. He was also a finalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award, which is awarded to the nation’s top lineman. He was beat out by Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr.
After he returned from a two-game absence due to a knee injury in late October, Carter was a force to be reckoned with on the field. He recorded three sacks in five games, including a dominant performance in the SEC title game against LSU.
Carter’s explosiveness off the snap, his ability to finish plays, and his big frame make him a dominant player from the interior who can wreak havoc on any down. He can play the 3-technique tackle position, which is a key role in any defense. He has been called the best defensive player on the Georgia defense and his motor never stops, whether it be in the run game or in passing plays.
He has all of the intangibles to be a menace on passing downs in the NFL, but does have some room to learn and develop a pass rush attack.
In the run game, Carter’s body control is impressive as he can handle double teams and corkscrew through blocks to impact the ball carrier. His improvement in the lower body has allowed him to anchor and hold his ground, clogging running lanes and stonewalling zone-reach blocks. He can shut down running lanes and is a difficult task to move consistently in the run game.
Scouting Report: Strengths
As a pass-rusher, Carter’s versatility is on full display. He can exchange gaps and shows impressive lower-body flexibility to drop his weight and slip under blockers’ hands. He has a devastating club/swim combination that knocks offensive linemen off balance and creates clear paths to the quarterback.
His first step is quick, putting him into the offensive lineman’s space in a hurry, and his functional power allows him to drive blockers into the lap of the passer. He bull rushes with the best of them and his power overwhelmed even the best linemen he faced in the SEC. He’s quick off the ball and blocks don’t slow down his effort on a play.
Despite his enormous frame, he’s impressive at changing directions which will serve him well when bringing down athletic opposing quarterbacks.
Scouting Report: Weaknesses
Despite his impressive athleticism and physical strength, Jalen Carter still has room to grow as a player. He does not always have a consistent plan for attacking pass-blocking schemes and relies too heavily on his club/swim combination, which can open him up for quick and powerful punches from offensive linemen.
He needs to continue developing his pass-rush hand package to take his game to the next level. Additionally, his pad level needs more consistency to fully take advantage of his raw power. Carter’s raw power and high motor led to many of the sacks he got over the past two seasons. He could grow into a dominant and consistent pass rusher who could tally double digit sacks in the NFL.
He had a substantial leverage advantage against any line in college football, but centers and guards at the next level won’t be so easily handled. Carter will improve in the small nuances of going up against linemen dozens of times each Sunday, which will unleash his raw physical traits.
Jalen Carter Draft Profile Summary
Carter is a top-three player and a day-one starter in the NFL. His overall rank is 2nd on our board, but many list him as the top talent in this draft class.
Jalen Carter Draft Profile Plus Side:
- Flexibility & Speed despite size
- Top talent with room for improvement
Jalen Carter Draft Profile Areas for Improvement
- Pass-rush technique & strategy
- Only started one year
- Lack of Technique (hands)
His raw athleticism and physical strength make him a dangerous combination for blockers to handle. If he can iron out some of the technical wrinkles in his game, he has the potential to become a dominant force on the defensive line in the NFL.
As a 3-technique defensive lineman who excels in a single gap penetrating/attacking scheme, Carter is a player that any team should be looking to add to their defensive line. He’s a lock to be a top 5 selection in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft and if the Chicago Bears don’t trade back, Carter could very well be the first overall pick.