It wasn’t that long ago that Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter was a strong favorite to take first place in the 2023 NFL Championship. Suddenly, his draft seems to be going down.
Carter reportedly had it Disastrous pro day Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Mark Schlapach. Carter, who weighed 314 for the NFL Scouts Association of Indianapolis, reportedly showed up on his pro day 9 pounds heavier. Carter decided to only participate in positional exercises, but struggled to finish. He was reportedly “convulsing and breathing heavily”.
It’s another disappointing development in Carter’s rapid descent from the top of the draft. Carter’s downfall began at the combine, when reports surfaced that he had a warrant for his arrest in Georgia for reckless driving and racing. Carter was allegedly working for Georgia offensive tackle Devin Willock and staffer Chandler Lecroy when the two died in a car accident in January.
Carter left the stake and turned himself in and bailed.
Carter returned to the combine, although he did not participate in any workouts at the event. He met teams and took his measurements. Carter was scheduled to speak with reporters in Indianapolis, but it didn’t happen after he left the event to deal with his legal situation. Carter didn’t speak to reporters after his pro day Wednesday, either, according to Schlapach.
Although Carter may fall in the draft, he is still expected to be picked up in the first round. Scouts from all 32 teams watched Carter’s pro day. Three NFL head coaches — Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Matt Eberfluss of the Chicago Bears and Arthur Smith of the Atlanta Falcons — were reportedly in attendance. The Falcons hold the highest pick in the draft—No. 8—of those three teams.
Before the combine, it would have seemed incomprehensible for Carter to fall back to the Falcons in the eighth. Things can change in the weeks leading up to the draft, but it’s hard to imagine Carter being the best defensive player taken in the 2023 NFL Draft.