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2023 NFL draft: Big slide unlikely for Georgia DT Jalen Carter

Despite widely being considered an elite talent in the 2023 NFL Draft, Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter has a fluid draft situation that has many analysts and fans speculating how far he may fall down the board when the first round kicks off Thursday night.

Carter reached a plea agreement with Athens-Clarke County for his connection to a vehicular crash that killed Georgia football player Devin Willock and Chandler LeCroy, a staffer with the team. Along with the fallout from that incident, Carter failed to finish his pro day workout and showed up 9 pounds heavier at his workout than he was at the NFL scouting combine.

Those incidents aren’t going to work in his favor Thursday night, and the way the draft is currently set up may naturally push him down the board. Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson and Will Levis will go high in the draft due to the nature of teams needing quarterbacks and paying a premium to get them. There are also other elite defensive talents like Will Anderson Jr., Christian Gonzalez and Devon Witherspoon who will hear their names called early at the top of the draft.

Drew Rosenhaus, Carter’s agent, recently shut down visits for Carter with teams that are drafting outside of the top 10, which is a sign that at the very least Rosenhaus believes Carter will be drafted within the top 10. That sentiment aligns with most of the information surrounding Carter’s current draft stock, which is still quite high.

Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter runs football drills during Georgia's Pro Day, Wednesday, March 15, 2023, in Athens, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter, pictured running drills during Georgia's pro day in March, had a poor showing in those workouts. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Indeed, multiple sources told Yahoo Sports that Carter is unlikely to fall out of the top-10 selections, even with a potential run on quarterbacks in the top five or six picks of the draft. The talent that Carter possesses is seen as rare by NFL talent evaluators, with the potential to develop into a top-flight defensive tackle who can shut down the run and get after the quarterback at the same time.

In terms of talent, many evaluators view Carter as the best player in the draft and one of the best defensive tackle prospects in years. According to a source with a team that’s drafting in the top 10, there are only so many players who can be picked before Carter’s talent evaluation overrides other concerns about him. Depending on the team, that may end up happening earlier in the top 10 than later.

Even falling to the 10th pick is not where most people saw Carter’s draft prospects at the start of the season, but this is where he’s found himself considering all of the factors that have manifested over the past few months. The uniqueness of Carter’s talent and his potential to be a game-changing player for any defensive scheme will get him drafted in the top 10, especially if teams feel comfortable enough with his character.