Even during Georgia’s 2021 march to the title, on a defense loaded with 2022 Draft Picks, Jalen Carter stood out as the most dominant player. It’s rare for a player to generate so much havoc from inside on the defensive line. Carter is as strong as it gets and athletic enough to cover distance quickly. He’s raw and will get better, and is going to hear his name called very early on April 27th.
- College: Georgia
- Height: 6’3”
- Weight: 310 lbs.
- Age: 21 yrs. (April 1, 2001)
- Year: Junior
- Draft Projection: Top Five, First Round
Carter was the ninth-ranked player in the class of 2020 and the third-ranked defensive tackle. He hails from Apopka, Florida, and had offers from Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, and Clemson, amongst others. After an official visit, Carter committed to Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs.
The statistics won’t blow anyone away, but the tape tells the full story. Carter saw limited action in his freshmen season, tallying 14 tackles, including three for a loss. On the historic defense of 2021, he had 37 tackles and three sacks, as the Georgia defense overall was one of the best in college history.
In 2022, Carter was the focus, and offensive lines were able to give him extra attention. He still raked in 32 tackles, three sacks, three pass deflections, and a pair of forced fumbles. The defense was still stout, leading them to another title, and Carter opted to enter the NFL Draft.
Power and Effort
I lumped these together because when he combines them, it’s absolutely lethal. Carter generates tremendous push from the interior due to his quick get off the line, and then, if engaged, the power flips on. But it’s not just power; it’s relentless and almost impossible for linemen to hang with consistently.
I’m watching all of Jalen Carter’s playoff games, and this rep against Michigan last year is just absurd.— Jacob Infante (@jacobinfante24) January 17, 2023
Wins with the arm-over as the 3-tech. Slippery to get past the RT and powers through the RB to get to the QB. That’s THREE blockers he beat on one play. Insane. #Bears pic.twitter.com/hXk6KpTivP
This is a ridiculous rep and showcases both perfectly. Carter beats three linemen, pushing the offensive linemen back until Carter can peel off and drop the quarterback.
Jalen Carter is just a monster. pic.twitter.com/On89rQcks3— Marcus Johnson (@TheMarcJohnNFL) February 10, 2023
Here’s how he can win if he only relies on power. Not many offensive linemen gave him issues in college, and sure, a few in the NFL will, but that’s not the only tool Carter has in his arsenal.
Not as good of a look on this one, as Jalen Carter bullies O’Cyrus Torrence, nearly walking him right into the quarterback.— Willie Lutz (@willie_lutz) February 11, 2023
There are very few as nimble as Anthony Richardson; that probably becomes a sack for 85% of QBs. pic.twitter.com/b1c5sheT32
Variety of Ways He Can Win
Power is all well and good, right? Carter starts with a lightning-quick first step. Which forces linemen to be ready right off the bat. Then the power kicks in. Okay, Roger Lefttackle is ready for that one. Then Carter spins inside. Or ducks under if the tackle is too high. Or Carter swings a massive club and shuns the tackle aside. Or he sees a run developing and peels off to throttle a running back Carter outweighs by 100 pounds.
The athletic ability Carter possesses at his size is fairly incredible. His ability to convert from power rush to disengaging to make a tackle in the flip of a switch is ridiculous. Watching him change direction or move in a pass-rush sequence is uncanny. Carter has the power, the motor, and then add in athletic ability – it’s a nasty combination.
Raw and Unrefined
For all the good, it’s scary to think that Carter is not close to his ceiling and could get much better. He has a lot of tools at his disposal but still doesn’t seem to have a plan when pass-rushing most downs. Carter relies on his power primarily and hasn’t displayed stringing together moves as much as we would have liked to see. Power and athleticism have been enough for him nine out of ten times thus far. He’s going to have to work on technique and plan more in the NFL to reach his full potential.
Lack of Reps
And some of the weakness above could be attributed to reps. Carter has a full year or so of playing time and has been on stacked defenses. He’s still seen a fair share of double and triple teams. And it’s been versus SEC talent, a lot of future NFL cats, so he’s not as far behind as he could be if he was at another school after one year of reps.
The Wrap Up
An argument can easily be made that on sheer talent and potential; Carter is the 1.01 of this 2023 Rookie class. His upside is immense, and his talent is phenomenal. The interior of the defensive line is not typically a cornerstone position for NFL teams, so he will fall a bit, but he’s still going to be drafted in the top ten. I think his potential could lead him to have an Aaron Donald-esque impact on a team’s defense. Which is more valuable than many give it credit for.
As far as IDP, I think Carter has got potential to have the impact Donald has from the defensive tackle position. Carter is worth a later first-round pick in IDP rookie drafts, particularly in leagues that require a DT to be started. He has the upside of 50-60 tackles and ten or more sacks, with a few forced fumbles and deflected passes thrown in for good measure. It may take Carter a few years to get there, but he won’t be a slouch in the time leading up to his ceiling. Get ready for your rookie draft with the DynastyGM!!
Rankings, trade calculator, league analyzer, and much more. Just $4.99/month or better yet, bundle with the Nerd Herd for just $6.99/month and get extra podcasts, the Dynasty Prospect Film Room, and more.