Bears' Ryan Poles understood the risks in drafting Jalen Carter
Ryan Poles understood the risks in drafting Jalen Carter originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Many outsiders and pundits speculated that the Bears would select Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter if he was available as Chicago's No. 9 pick.
When the do-or-die time came, however, they passed on him, trading the No. 9 pick to the Philadelphia Eagles, who drafted Carter one spot in front of their No. 10 pick.
On the Bernstein & Holmes show on 670 the Score, Poles refused to dive into the specifics of the front office's reasoning for not drafting him. But he explained his vision of the Bears' current roster versus the Eagles, displaying his acknowledgment of the situation.
"I will say that our culture is important," Poles said. "I'll say that we know where our roster is right now and what it can handle, what it can't handle. I think that's part of being intelligent in this space is knowing your locker room and where it's at.
"I'm happy we made the decision that we made. Specifically, on Jalen, I think he went to a fantastic place that has, kinda like their cement dry in their foundation."
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Poles' answer displays his recognition of the potential risks Carter brings to an NFL team.
In March, news of a warrant for Carter's arrest in connection with two deaths of a Georgia teammate and a recruiting staffer surfaced. Carter was charged with reckless driving and racing, but pled no contest.
As a result of the case, Carter received 12 months of probation, a $1,000 fine and 80 hours of community service. He will also attend a state-approved defensive driving course.
Recent news about the case revealed the father of the teammate who died is suing Carter for $40 million. Also, ESPN reported Carter was driving with a suspended license at the time of the incident.
Carter resolved the initial matter of the case during the NFL combine by returning to Athens. Shortly after, during Carter's Pro Day, another red flag arose. He cut half the drills from his workout, including the 40-yard dash, yet was unable to finish the workout because he got winded and experienced cramping.
We can't say for certain whether or not these incidents led to Poles and the Bears staving off Carter in the draft. We also can't dictate whether or not the incidents Carter endured are commonplace with his behavior off the field.
What we can say, however, is the Bears found enough reason to not select Carter, despite his status as arguably the best defensive tackle in the NFL draft. In turn, the Bears flipped to the other side of the trenches, drafting right tackle Darnell Wright out of Tennesee.
And Poles will gladly stand on that selection.
"We love Darnell. He's gonna help us. He's got grit to him. He is dirty tough and I absolutely love him," Poles said.
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