NFL Draft News & Analysis

2023 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: DI Jalen Carter, Georgia

Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jalen Carter (88) hits Samford Bulldogs quarterback Michael Hiers (10) during the first half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we’re more than halfway through the 2022 college football season, it’s time to start taking a closer look at some of the top prospects in the 2023 NFL draft class.

Here’s a look at Georgia interior defender Jalen Carter, who was arguably the best player on the Bulldogs' historically good 2021 defense.

Stat to know: Carter put up a 90.0 pass-rush grade last season, second among all Power Five interior defenders.

NFL role: Carter primarily plays left defensive tackle between the A and B gap, so he should be able to slide right in there for any NFL team. He'll bring solid production in run defense and a rare pass-rushing ability for a defensive tackle.

Because of the MCL injury he’s been dealing with over the past month, Carter has played only 101 snaps through nine weeks and has missed three games. But while his numbers aren't quite what they were a year ago, he is still a top-10 prospect just by his size and athleticism alone. He may have been the best defensive player that Georgia had last season — and the Bulldogs had five first-round picks on that defense.

Highest-graded game: WEEK 10 VS. TENNESSEE (92.3)

Carter looked near his best against the Volunteers in Week 10, producing two quarterback pressures in the pass rush and two stops against the run. He won 18.2% of his pass-rush snaps on the day and recorded four solo tackles.

Lowest-graded game: WEEK 3 VS. SOUTH CAROLINA (64.2)

To be fair, Carter played only 12 snaps in this game, but he still failed to record a single tackle. He couldn’t get to the quarterback much either, with only one pressure and a below-average pass-rushing grade of 55.0.

What he does well: It’s hard to find a 300-pounder who moves the way Jalen Carter does. He has a ridiculously quick first step, which is rare to see from a player of his size.

His pass-rushing ability separates him from the rest at his position. Among the 168 interior defenders who have rushed the passer at least 300 times over the last three seasons, Carter ranks third in pass-rush grade (90.3), second in win rate (16.3%) and ninth in total pressures (60).

The Georgia product possesses elite strength and arm length to bulldoze just about every lineman in the country. Teams basically have to double him in the gap every play if they want to stand a chance.

What he needs to improve: The 6-foot-3, 300-pounder really just needs to stay healthy at this point. Injuries have been the only thing holding him back, as he has had a nagging MCL sprain for most of this season.

Best NFL traits: Arm length, speed, pass-rushing ability, strength.

Best NFL fits: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans.

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