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Draft Coverage

Meet the Prospect: Jalen Carter

Name: Jalen Carter

Position: Defensive tackle

School: Georgia

Ht/Wt: 6-3, 314

40-yard dash: Did not run

Bench: Did not bench

Vertical: Did not jump

Broad: Did not jump

3-cone: Did not run

20-yard shuttle: Did not run

View photos of NFL prospect Jalen Carter.

How he fits: Carter lined up in multiple spots along Georgia's defensive front and has a rare blend of size, power and quickness for a 300-plus pound player. He didn't have a ton of sack production for the Bulldogs (six sacks last two years combined) but he did lead SEC interior defenders with 32 quarterback pressures this past season. He's terrific against the run and is a player who commands a lot of double teams and holds up well against them, often freeing up others around him to make plays.

The Lions finished 2022 ranked 29th against the run, allowing 146.5 yards per contest. Opponents averaged 5.2 yards per carry, which ranked 30th. Carter led a Bulldogs' defense that allowed the fewest rushing yards per game (77.1) in college football last year. That's an area GM Brad Holmes and head coach Dan Campbell know Detroit's defense has to be better at in 2023 if they are going to take a jump forward. It's an area where Carter could have an instant impact.

There are some off-field issues Holmes and the Lions will have to vet. On March 1 Carter was arrested on reckless driving and racing charges associated with a car crash that killed a teammate and a football staffer driving in a separate vehicle. He entered a no contest plea to the charges and was sentenced to serve 12 months of probation, pay a $1,000 fine, perform 80 hours of community service and complete a state-approved defensive driving course. He also showed up to his pro day out of shape and couldn't complete on-field drills after opting not to do the other testing.

Key observations: Carter accounted for three special teams blocks in his career (two extra point attempts, one field goal attempt). Despite battling injuries in 2022, Carter posted a 92.3 grade from Pro Football Focus that ranked first among Power Five interior defensive linemen.

What they had to say about him: "With a playing base that is always balanced, Carter flashes the initial burst and play strength to rip, displace and disrupt the backfield rhythm. While physically impressive, he also does a skillful job rushing with eyes and trusting his instincts to feel blocking pressure. Carter needs to continue growing in several areas, but his block destruction is special because of a rare combination of body control, quickness and power.

"He presents a conundrum for NFL decision-makers – he is a very young player and maturation isn't a guarantee, but he is arguably the most talented prospect in this draft class with the potential to develop into a top-five player at his position in the NFL." – Dane Brugler, The Athletic

View photos of the top defensive tackle prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft.

How he stacks up: Brugler lists Carter as the No. 1 defensive tackle prospect in the class and No. 3 overall prospect.

Carter comes in at No. 1 overall on the Mel Kiper Jr.'s Big Board for ESPN. ESPN's Matt Miller lists Carter as the No. 6 overall prospect. Carter comes in at No. 5 overall on Daniel Jeremiah's most recent Top 50 players list.

The consensus on Carter is he's one of the best talents in the draft but comes with some risk.

What he had to say: "I'm a really good teammate," Carter told Sports Illustrated ahead of Georgia's appearance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl after reports surfaced about character issues associated with him. "You can ask any of my other teammates, and they will tell you the same thing. It doesn't matter who you are, if you're a walk-on, I feel like I'm always going to help you out."

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