The Eagles own the 4th overall pick as of right now. Thank you to the Saints for that trade and for the opportunity to draft one of the best overall players in this draft. The expectation is the 1st overall pick, and the 2nd overall pick will both be QB's. That lets whoever has the 3rd and 4th overall picks to take some of the best overall prospects in this draft.
In the last Eagles Draft Prospect article, we focused on a player that the Eagles will look at with their own pick. We looked at Alabama's RB Jahmyr Gibbs. We are now going to look at a player that the Eagles can select with the Saints pick. Thanks to them as of right now it is a top 4 pick. Last year the Eagles selected Georgia DT Jordan Davis. We will now look at his former teammate and someone he played alongside the defensive line. We will focus on All SEC player Jalen Carter.
Just one year ago, Carter was the best player on a Georgia defensive line that was arguably one of the best we have ever seen. He had a pass rush grade of 90.0 which was best for 2nd amongst collegiate defensive tackles in 2021. Just to tell you how dominate the defensive line was, that defensive line featured the first overall pick in Travon Walker as well as AP All American Jordan Davis.
Now in 2022 his production has gone down from that 2021 season, but still leads the country in pass rush grades with 84.0. He has been battling an MCL injury that has sidelined him for 3 games and has seen him on the field much less than the Georgia faithful would like to see. However, even with a smaller role than in 2021, he still is leading a defensive line that is undefeated and atop of the College Football Playoff rankings. Even with an injury and less playing time, according to multiple draft experts Carter is still projected to be a top 10 draft pick in next year's draft.
Arm and hand strength
When you look at Jalen Carter, you will see a giant human being. However, the way he plays it makes you think he is much smaller than what he is. His best move is his swim move. I have watched a lot of defensive linemen prospects since I started doing this in 2020, and Carter has the best swim move I have ever seen. He is so strong with his legs, and he is so quick with his hands, that it truly looks effortless.
There is a lot that goes into his swim move. It starts before the ball is even snapped. He knows exactly what the blockers are going to do before the ball is snapped. Then you look at his upper body strength. On top of his swim move, Carter has a bear hug tackle that is also super strong. He uses both his upper body strength and instincts to be able to move the defender where he wants. For 300 lbs, he moves very quick. All those things help Carter barrel through the blockers, and by the time the RB gets the ball, he already has them wrapped around.
Let's take a look at this play right here. He anticipates the run, pushes the blocker away, and move into the B gap.
You will not find a better rusher in this draft. We all know how great his strength is. If you have seen any film on him, you can see how a single blocker is no match for him 1 on 1. Carter is simply too strong. The mix of his strength and arm length makes him almost unstoppable.
For 300lbs he moves very quickly. A guy of his size should not be able to chase down QB's and RB's as easy as him. Check out this play against Clemson in 2021. At first, he is double teamed, and when the RG picks up the LB, he buries his feet into the ground, explodes towards the QB, and he gets to the QB with ease.
This is my favorite play that I watched from Carter. He does a great job of showing you how strong he really is and how much of a prescence he can be in the interior. NFL RB's will have a hard time running on him in the middle. While watching this play, I see a lot of Aaron Donald. When watching film on him, the best grade he got was during the Tennessee game. The fact that he steps up and has his best game against the #1 team in the country says a lot about his competitiveness.
Areas of Improvement
When you watch Carter, there are not many weaknesses. He is not going to be as productive in the pass rush as he is in the run defense. However, his overall defensive prescence will force QB's to throw the ball much more. If he can improve his lateral movement on pass rushing, he can be one of the best defenders in the NFL.
He has been battling an MCL injury all season. After watching him play not at 100% and miss games and still be as dominate as he has been, it seems an injury will be the only thing that stops him.
Quinnen Williams New York Jets
It is hard for an interior defensive lineman to stick out as much as Carter does in a defense. He is one of those players that needs to know exactly where he is at all times, and requires to be double teamed. Williams was the same way when he was at Alabama. When you watch both of them play, they both move so quickly and easily through the blockers. When looking at both players physicality, they both have similar builds. They both are oversized and have a larger arm length than most interior defensive linemen.
Fit with the Eagles
Let me just check off some boxes for the people who love negativity. Didn't we just draft Jordan Davis in the first round in 2022 and don't they play the exact same position? Yes, but Carter has the ability to play on the left or right and guess what so does Davis. Alright, but don't the Eagles have future HOF Fletcher Cox on the roster as well as Javon Hargrave? Both players are free agents at the end of the season. The Eagles have hinted that Cox will be playing elsewhere in 2023 or he could even look to retirement at the end of the season. Haragrave is also a free agent at the end of the season, and a much cheaper and better option would be Carter.
Howie Roseman builds from the trenches and him going for an interior defensive lineman would not be a shock. I personally think a DE would be the better route here, but don't you worry we will get to some DE's soon, but for now Carter. We saw how the Eagles defense did against the run without Jordan Davis on the field. Imagine both Carter and Davis on the field together. Well, according to the 2021 Georgia Bulldogs, the other team's run game will be no existent.
By adding Carter, it provides a huge amount of depth for the defensive line. As dominate as our defensive line has been for a long time, the reason they have been so dominate, the depth has been deep for a long time. Adding Carter, it would allow the Eagles to resign Haragrave and make him the back-up alongside Milton Williams. Carter and Davis would both be cheap options, but would be a combo where it would solidify the run defense for a long time.
The Eagles have been eaten alive by the run against Houston and Washinton without Davis on the field. Seeing as the Eagles play Jonathan Taylor next week, imagine if we had another dominate run stopper on defense who could still step up when Davis goes down.