Georgia defensive Jalen Carter has been hailed as one of, if not the best player in the 2023 NFL Draft class. A dominating player at Georgia, Carter, by most accounts, has been the best player in Athens for the last two seasons. Several would argue even better than last year’s No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker.
But Carter is in the middle of a difficult situation off the field and it appears to potentially be impacting his performance on the field as well.
On March 1, while at the NFL Combine, an arrest warrant was issued for Carter for his role in an alleged car racing incident that resulted in a fatal car crash. Carter left the Combine, turned himself in to the police, and issued a statement saying, “There is no question in my mind that when all the facts are known that I will be fully exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing.”
Carter returned to the Combine but did not speak to the media and did not participate in any drills or measurables at the event.
On Wednesday, Georgia held its pro day, and despite weighing 314 pounds at the NFL Combine, Carter added nine pounds in the two weeks since. It’s not clear if the added weight impacted his decision on which parts of Georgia’s pro day to participate in, but once again he didn’t do any timed or measured drills.
Carter did participate in on-field drills—which were televised on the ESPN networks—and the results were underwhelming if we are being kind. In fact, it’s fair to say the majority of the reviews of his performance were highly negative.
Idk man lol. pic.twitter.com/bnlO1FHVgG— Billy M (@BillyM_91) March 15, 2023
ESPN would go on to report on his “struggles” claiming that Carter couldn’t “finish the position drills because he was cramping up and breathing heavily.”
The growing theme across the draft community was that Carter looked out of shape and his efforts were lackadaisical at times, leaving many to wonder if he should have even participated if he wasn’t fully present.
If he felt he needed to go do something football related to try to regain some stench of normalcy & control over his situation, I’m empathetic to that and you gotta let a guy do what’s in his heart— Diante Lee (@DianteLeeFB) March 15, 2023
But I struggle with his circle letting him do any of this given his conditioning https://t.co/XNWrUGWc4G
While Carter’s performance certainly underwhelmed, it’s hard to say how this will impact his draft stock. Carter is having meetings with teams, and his recent off-the-field incident is surely be discussed.
Does he have an explanation of what happened and what his role was? Is the current situation impacting his mental health?
Unfortunately, we will likely never know the answers to those questions, but they seem pivotal to how his draft stock will be determined by teams. On the field, over the past two seasons, Carter has been terrific but so much of what teams are investing in goes beyond the field.
This Jalen Carter narrative spiraling downward is pretty crazy considering he was the most talented player on dominant back-to-back title teams. Makes me hope he’s doing okay mentally. Always want players to reach their full potential + selfishly want to see him 100% in the NFL— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) March 15, 2023
Will his stock fall? Possibly. But it’s really going to be difficult to ascertain given the limited information presented in the media. What we do know is that there are plenty of questions surrounding Carter that were not there a few weeks ago.
And now, onto the rest of today’s notes:
- Hear from Lions’ defensive lineman John Cominsky on why he’s excited to be back in Detroit (full presser here).
It's a culture thing. pic.twitter.com/lcct8tNMe3— Detroit Lions (@Lions) March 15, 2023
365 days of work paid off. pic.twitter.com/hEbmovibYo— Detroit Lions (@Lions) March 15, 2023
- Lions’ team reporter Dannie Rogers took some time to chat with Cominsky while he was in town to sign his new contract with the team.
.@J_Cominsky, to @DannieRogers___ after being re-signed to the #Lions: "I'm more motivated than ever." pic.twitter.com/2iaGDJ4D9t— Detroit Lions (@Lions) March 15, 2023
- Like Cominsky, linebacker Alex Anzalone was also in Detroit to sign his new three-year deal with the team (full presser here).
Time to take the next step— Detroit Lions (@Lions) March 15, 2023
.@alexanzalone34 chatted with @dannierogers___ about re-signing with the #Lions. pic.twitter.com/1io5TUZ3DA— Detroit Lions (@Lions) March 15, 2023
- Did you notice Cominsky’s t-shirt he was wearing during his media availability? Davie Birkett of the Free Press has more on that shirt, and how a text from Lions’ coach Dan Campbell played a key role in keeping him in Detroit.
A T-shirt helped change John Cominsky's life, and a text from Dan Campbell helped keep him with the Detroit Lions https://t.co/xBownE9ici via @freep— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) March 15, 2023
- In case you were wondering about any potential D.J. Chark news—
I've heard some buzz today about the #Giants connected to D.J. Chark and Mecole Hardman. We'll see if that has any legs. You'd expect them to explore all options on the market.— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) March 15, 2023