The Detroit Lions and Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter have scheduled a prospect visit for next month. Carter entered the offseason regarded as a potential No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. However, numerous red flags have sprouted in recent weeks.
Carter was sentenced to 12 months probation in connection to a Jan. 15 car crash that killed a Georgia teammate and team staffer. Carter pled no contest to charges of racing and reckless driving.
At his pro day, Carter showed up nine pounds over what he weighed in at the scouting combine. He was unable to finish drills during the workout.
With questions about Carter’s character and decision-making piling up, the once surefire top-three pick is expected to slip in the draft. The Lions could be in a position to grab Carter with the sixth overall pick if that fall does indeed happen.
Talent is certainly not the issue. Carter offers an explosive amount of power in his pass rush skillset. He has the versatility to play anywhere along the defensive line between the tackles, and he will be an impact player from day one.
This meeting between the Lions and Carter will be the former Bulldog’s best chance at clearing away the team’s questions surrounding his off-field issues.
Football character reigns supreme in Lions GM Brad Holmes’ evaluation of prospects. At the NFL’s annual spring meeting on Monday, Holmes said the Lions will leave “no stone unturned” when evaluating potential character risks in the draft.
The Detroit Lions’ interest in Jalen Carter hinges on the intangibles
When asked specifically about Carter, Holmes said, “Honestly, you’ve heard me preach intangibles since Day 1, and I’m a firm believer still that intangibles are the separators of success…Talent is one thing while the intangible piece, the character piece, are components. But it doesn’t make up the whole picture and the totality of the evaluation.”
With quarterbacks expected to go first and second in the draft, the first spot Carter could reasonably be taken is third overall to the Arizona Cardinals. The Seattle Seahawks at fifth and the Lions at sixth pose two other potential landing spots. Despite the off-field concerns, Carter projects to remain inside the top 10. The Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles are all in a position to draft an interior defensive lineman.
Carter became one of the most polarizing prospects in this year’s draft class. He likely remains at the top of some teams’ boards while falling far down others’. Holmes and the Lions’ front office will be sure to do their due diligence on the star pass rusher before the draft.
Carter has had a tumultuous path to the NFL, and it is far from over. In every meeting with teams, he will have to answer questions about the car accident where he lost his teammate and a staffer. That incident will follow him beyond the draft as well.
These meetings and these questions are critical for Carter. He has the opportunity to sit face-to-face with GMs and coaches and show them his character as best he can. For Holmes, Jalen carter has the chance to show he has the intangibles and football character he seeks in his draft prospects.
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