Former Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter may well have been the most gifted football player in the entire 2023 NFL Draft.
But rather than going in the top few picks, where most projected early on, Carter slid all the way to No. 9 before being selected by the Philadelphia Eagles.
“Why”, you ask?
Well, Carter’s slide had nothing to do with his ability on the field and everything to do with what happens away from it.
Carter entered in a guilty plea after charges connected to the fatal car crash of former teammate Devin Willock. Willock and a Georgia staffer were killed in a crash during an alleged street race against Carter.
Police pulled Carter over following the incident, but he was not arrested at the time.
Carter then showed up to his Georgia pro day out of shape and put in a lackluster performance. That only heightened concerns about his work ethic and judgement.
Ultimately, Carter wound up in Philadelphia where he joins fellow teammate Jordan Davis and star defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.
Philadelphia Eagles Captain Jason Kelce Is All-In On Jalen Carter Pick
Many believe it’s the perfect scenario for Carter. And one of Philadelphia’s most influential players is all-in on the pick.
Speaking on his “New Heights” podcast, Eagles center Jason Kelce said that he believes the concerns around Carter are overblown.
“I don’t get too concerned with character stuff. Especially when it comes to college kids,” he said. “These are highly transformative years for all these guys…I think that people do a lot of growing in college. People do a lot of growing after college. These are still, all intents are purposes, these are still young kids. They’re still young men.
“Jalen gets the opportunity now to reinvent himself, right? He gets to enter the league. He’s the No. 9 pick over all. Clearly has the talent to be a a premier player in this league. You don’t get picked that high if you don’t have the upside to make that happen.”
It sure seems like Kelce, who will be an Eagles captain for the sixth year running, is all-in on Carter.
Now we find out whether Carter has what it takes to prove him right.