Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter has been viewed as one of the most-talented prospects available in the 2023 NFL Draft. However, the former Bulldog has come under fire over the past few weeks due to matters on and off the football field.
On the day of his scheduled media appearance at the NFL Scouting Combine, an arrest warrant was issued over Carter's alleged involvement in a December car accident resulting in the tragic loss of a Georgia recruiting staff member and teammate. He returned to Athens, turned himself in to authorities, was booked on misdemeanor charges of racing and reckless driving, and posted bond.
News of a resolution broke Thursday, as Carter entered a plea deal with the Athens-Clarke County prosecutor, per The Athletic. He will avoid jail time but received 12 months probation, a $1,000 fine and 80 hours of required community service. He must also complete a state-approved driving course.
The narrative was not aided by his Pro Day performance, though. An ESPN report noted that the interior defensive lineman showed up nine pounds heavier than he weighed at the NFL Combine. He also did not take part in athletic testing and was said to have been "cramping up and breathing heavily" when position drills ended prematurely. In fairness, most would be stressed and not focused on training with legal matters hanging over one's head.
It is impossible to predict where Carter is going to be picked in the 2023 NFL Draft because teams may have acquired different information and formed varying opinions based on that information. With some level of certainty, it can be said that the 21-year-old's ceiling is No. 3 overall to the Arizona Cardinals, but the other end of that range is volatile.
Here are the best landing spots for the talented prospect:
Philadelphia has established a winning culture, and the defensive line is littered with veterans, like Brandon Graham, Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat. Carter would also have familiarity playing with last year's first-round and third round selections: defensive tackle Jordan Davis and linebacker Nakobe Dean. There are enough stars on that roster that the defensive lineman would be able to blend in and write his own story rather than shouldering the pressure of being a franchise's saving grace elsewhere.
Head coach Dan Campbell is that father figure willing to give tough love. He expects effort from his players but will go to the end of the earth for those that meet that expectation. If the player needs to hear something difficult, then the coach is not going to sugarcoat it. There is a culture of toughness and accountability in Detroit.
From an on-field perspective, the Lions would have a talented defensive front after using first- and second-round selections on edge rushers last spring.
There is a level of expectation within the Seattle franchise. Few had high hopes for the Seahawks this past season, and they carried that chip all the way to the postseason. They would also have a veteran playing alongside him after signing Dre'Mont Jones in free agency.
Athletic potential, in this case, is less important than finding an environment that will first support Carter's personal growth. An argument could be made for Atlanta because of Grady Jarrett's presence. However, it may also benefit him to get away from his current surroundings. Las Vegas does not necessarily seem like an ideal environment to foster personal growth.
The 2023 NFL Draft will take place from April 27-29 in Kansas City, Missouri.