AP Photo/Brett Davis, file
40 YARD RUN: open
— Good size for an NFL defensive tackle and carries little to no bad weight. Has room for growth on its frame if needed.
— Accelerates well off the scrimmage line in pass rush situations or on a jet/go call to put instant pressure on offensive linemen.
— Combines this bounce with low pad level, power and physicality at the point of attack to bull rush the bag to collapse.
– Works well on getting to the edge rather than trying to go straight through an offensive lineman’s chest.
— Demonstrates impressive speed, active hands, and athleticism to win with fine movement as a rusher.
— Has a wide range of pass rush moves that he can use to win: Bull Rush, Push-Pull, Arm Over/Swim, Rip, Cross Chop, etc.
— Impressive agility, flexing, and a lithe bottom half help him find an efficient path to quarterback when he’s skewed or cornering a tight corner after defeating an offensive lineman.
— Great pass rush engine for getting cover sacks and fighting your way through double teams.
— Has the speed and agility against the barrel to change the offensive lineman’s aim point and dive off or dodge blocks, especially on leans.
— Also has the agility to gain ground vertically and laterally with his first step in a banked position.
— Has the athletic ability to deflect the offensive lineman and make him miss if a pitch throws him off position.
– Has good knee flexion to gain leverage advantage when accepting blocks and has plenty of power to stretch and release.
— Fierce when discarding to help exit blocks.
— Has the power to hold its own against one-on-one blocks and will not fill its gap/quit its quest early.
— Little to no problems in tackles near the line of scrimmage.
— Propel players at decent speed to account for gang tackles when chasing.
– More deliberate off the ball when not running downs, which could cause him to lose some ground to physical offensive linemen in the NFL.
— Takes on blocks with a narrow base when one-gapping.
— Required upper body strength in college.
— Has wide hand placement against the barrel and when bull rushing.
— Linemen with strong grip strength will be able to get to his chest and hold on.
— Trouble spotting and anticipating double teams coming to turn his hip into the second blocker.
— Gets caught off guard and kicked inside against doubles.
— Can develop a habit of dancing too much before the bull rush.
— Just have to get off the ball and into the blocker every time.
— 5-Star Recruit in the 2020 Class, #18 national, #4 DT, per 247Sports Composite Rankings
— Injuries: 2022 ankle (limited 1 game, missed 1 game), 2022 sprained knee/MCL (missed 2 games)
– 11 career starts played with three first-round defenders last season
– 2021 Honours: All-SEC Team Second Coaches
— Played basketball and was a competitive weight lifter in high school
When Jalen Carter watched Travon Walker, Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt last year, Jalen Carter kept popping off the tape.
Carter was the top player on a defensive line that included three 2022 first-round picks, including the first overall pick. That’s one of the reasons he was considered one of the top five picks throughout the 2023 NFL draft process.
Unlike many defensive tackles who have a specialty, the Florida native is as versatile as it gets. He’s quick and athletic to miss offensive linemen as a run defender and has plenty of power to hold his own and parry one-on-one blocks. As a pass rusher, he can win powerfully with bull rush or push-pull moves, or around the edges with finesse moves.
Admittedly, many of the Georgia product’s negatives are finicky. There are a few technical deficiencies he needs to address, most notably his hand placement on bull rushes and against the run, but most of his issues are easy to fix. His biggest concern in the NFL is probably his ability to take on doubles teams, which slightly impacts his systems fit.
Carter would be best as a 3 technique for a team using many balanced fronts. He has the athleticism to play 4i to 5 technique even on odd fronts, but his struggles against doubles teams would be a big problem if he played anywhere further inside than 2i, and even that could push him forward. Also, he lacks the size to play too close to the center.
With that in mind, any team that’s at the forefront of the draft and is looking for a center back who can make a difference against the run and as a pass rusher should be more than happy to pick Carter.
GREAT: 9.5 (top 5 prospects)
TOTAL PLACE: 2
POSITION RANK: DT1
PRO COMPARISON: Warren Sapp