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Eagles' Jalen Carter already playing like one of NFL's best interior defenders

2RXJ861 Tampa, United States. 25th Sep, 2023. Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Jalen Carter (98) pressures Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Monday, September 25, 2023. Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI Credit: UPI/Alamy Live News

What Philadelphia Eagles rookie interior defender Jalen Carter has done through the first four weeks of his NFL career is unprecedented.

Since PFF's inception (2006), Carter owns the best grade of any interior lineman through the first four games of their career. The next guy on the list? Someone named Aaron Donald.

Arguably the best talent in the entire draft, Carter slipped to the ninth overall pick when a warrant for his arrest was issued during the NFL Combine in connection with an incident of street racing that resulted in the deaths of two people.

Carter ultimately pleaded no contest to multiple misdemeanor charges, paying a fine, performing community service and receiving 12 months of probation. It all added to question marks about his maturity and whether teams could trust him off the field as much as they would on the field.

At the University of Georgia, Carter stood out as the best player on one of the most loaded defenses in college football history. Every time you went to their tape — to evaluate first-round pick Devonte Wyatt, first-round pick Jordan Davis, first-round pick Nolan Smith or first-overall pick Travon Walker — it was Carter who stood out as a notably better player.

He has earned a 92.2 PFF grade in 2023 after posting an 85.3 mark the season before. He finished his college career with 79 pressures from 728 pass-rushing snaps.

Highest-Graded Interior Defenders | 2023
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Coming off a Super Bowl loss, the Eagles found themselves with the luxury of a top-10 draft pick thanks to the New Orleans Saints trading up the year before. When Carter began to slide outside of the top five, the Eagles were perfectly positioned to move up one spot and draft him at No. 9 overall, seeing too much potential reward relative to the risk involved.

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