2023 mock NFL Draft 2.0: Fallout from free agency wave and NFL Combine

The 2022 NFL Draft logo Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The 2022 NFL Draft logo Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jalen Carter, Georgia Bulldogs
Jalen Carter, Georgia Bulldogs(Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

Bulldogs . Jalen Carter. 5. player. 814. . Defensive Tackle

On the clock: NFL Draft Pick No. 5: Seattle Seahawks – Jalen Carter, Defensive Tackle, Georgia

Mock Draft 1.0 – Tyree Wilson, EDGE, Texas Tech

Speaking of boom-or-bust picks, defensive tackle Jalen Carter is one of the more controversial personalities coming into the NFL in recent years. He could go this high or he could very well go undrafted and out of the league.

Carter’s draft stock (and his career) hinge on an investigation into his involvement in a drag racing accident that cost the life of a Georgia player as well as a staffer. Carter was involved in the race and alleged to have left the scene.

Walter Football reported that what happens next is going to depend on precisely the circumstances of him leaving:

"Team sources saw this arrest as potentially causing them to drop Carter from their draft boards all the way to it being a near non-factor. It all comes down to his role and what he did  that night. Police reports say that Carter left the scene and then returned a few hours later. Sources say that if Carter saw or knew about the accident and left the scene while his teammate had just died, a staffer was dying, and two people were injured, that would lead to him dropping him from their board. If Carter drove away because he lost track of them during their race and did not know there was an accident, then they feel he probably would not be significantly hurt by a reckless driving and speeding incident."

Carter also had a horrible NFL Combine, interviewing poorly and not being forthcoming about the incident. He also showed up so overweight to his Pro Day at Georgia that he could not complete the workout. There were already concerns on his work ethic, so this has obviously caused concern.

Carter’s talent is still immense, however, so if he survives the investigation he will still be a pick in the top 10.  He does have genuine J.J. Watt potential, but he’s going to need to be in the right program. This season, Carter recorded 32 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and three passes defended. It’s worth remembering Carter missed some time also due to a hit sustained against Missouri.

Pete Carroll has been a no-nonsense operator all his coaching career and he’s been able to make the tough calls before. It’s a risk, but one that could be rewarded handsomely.