The NFL draft is filled with twists and turns at every moment from the end of the season until draft night. We have seen prospects tumble down draft boards before. Laremy Tunsil fell after a video surfaced minutes before the draft of him smoking weed. La’el Collins was named in a murder investigation two days before a draft; despite never being a suspect, he wasn’t cleared by police until after the draft — he went undrafted. And this year’s big-ticket prospect that could slide is Georgia’s Jalen Carter.
From The Athletic’s latest mock draft, which is based upon intel from NFL GMs and executives, Carter wasn’t one of the first ten selections.
1. Chicago Bears: Will Anderson, Edge, Alabama
2. Houston Texans: Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
3. Arizona Cardinals: Tyree Wilson, DL, Texas Tech
4. Indianapolis Colts: C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
5. Seattle Seahawks: Anthony Richardson, QB, Florida
6. Detroit Lions: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
7. Las Vegas Raiders: Will Levis, QB, Kentucky
8. Atlanta Falcons: Peter Skoronski, OT, Northwestern
9. Carolina Panthers: Paris Johnson, OT, Ohio State
10. Philadelphia Eagles: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
Here are a few quotes from the piece pertaining to Jalen Carter:
On the Cardinals potentially drafting him at #3: “Georgia’s Carter would be the obvious choice from a talent standpoint, but most execs thought selecting him this early would be problematic with two misdemeanor charges pending against him.”
“Another exec said he thought Carter could fall into the 10-12 range the way eventual Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp did in 1995, when reports surfaced the day before the draft that Sapp had failed drug tests.”
On the Eagles potentially drafting him at #10: “With Carter falling this far and the Eagles needing to fortify their defensive front with young talent, it was tempting to slot the Georgia pass-rusher here. But with criminal charges pending against Carter, the decision was made to set him aside for the time being.”
I don’t know how the legal process will play out for Jalen Carter, but I don’t think he will fall out of the top 10. If everything checks out, the Falcons and every other team that passed on him would feel foolish. Some clubs don’t need to take that kind of risk, but several could stomach the potential PR backlash and resulting consequences.
It must be noted that many of these GMs and executives have an underlying motivation behind these things. It could very well be a tactic to turn this into a media frenzy, which could result in Jalen Carter falling down draft boards. Regardless, I have a hard time believing he falls out of the top 10.