Why the Seahawks should pass on Jalen Carter at pick number 5

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The red flags on Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter continue to multiply. While Carter is talented, the Seahawks need to pass on taking him in the 2023 NFL draft. This is true even though Seattle is trying to rebuild their defensive line almost completely and even though Seattle has signed Jarran Reed and Dre’Mont Jones in free agency.

The main reason to pass on Carter is everything to do with off-the-field stuff. If general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll think on draft day of taking him then just before the pick someone they trust needs to whisper in their ears, “Malik McDowell.” Because everything we have seen from Carter this offseason implies he could be McDowell 2.0.

12s remember McDowell, I’m sure. He was the Seahawks’ first pick in the 2017 draft – Seattle took him in the second round – and McDowell never played a down of real football for Seattle. Just a few weeks before his first NFL training camp was supposed to start McDowell was involved in an ATV accident and the injury would likely have cost him a full year of football, at least.

Seahawks need to not take Jalen Carter in the 2023 NFL draft

The problem, besides McDowell clearly being so immature to not be self-aware enough that maybe he shouldn’t be driving an ATV in the first place, was that the ATV incident was by far McDowell’s only off-field issue. He was arrested for DUI in September of 2017 as well. McDowell has been arrested so many times at this point it is easy to lose count.

But when it comes to Carter, his current legal issues where he was the driver of a vehicle that was drag racing another vehicle before the other vehicle wrecked and took the lives of two people, would obviously be bad enough but almost everything surrounding the incident is just as bad. Most people didn’t even know Carter was involved in the accident until very recently as both he and (most likely) the University of Georgia did a really good job of covering up that fact.

The horrible accident aside and wishing it had never happened at all, I still think Carter would look a bit better had he come clean about the loss that happened just a few hours after Georgia won the national championship. But no, of course not. Why would that happen? Football is bigger than life, right? No, it isn’t.

The details about who Carter called immediately after the crash and what followed are still coming out. But the night of the crash wasn’t the first time Carter was caught speeding. He was pulled over in September 2022 for going 89 MPH in a 45-mile-per-hour zone. He was let go even though he had window tint on his windshield which is illegal in the state of Georgia and the fact that the speed he was going should have been considered reckless driving. Carter seems more like a product of a bad college system where things can be covered up simply to not have players get in trouble many times.

But then on Carter’s pro day on Wednesday, Carter showed up out of shape. He was somehow 9 pounds heavier than he was at the NFL combine that was only two weeks ago. That is a lot of weight to put on in two weeks. If most of that had been muscle, fine. It would have shown Carter was trying to already be in shape for the NFL season and working hard to get there. But no.

Instead, Carter seems to have just shown up out of shape for what is basically the biggest day a college player has in the long process of interviewing for an NFL job. Carter only did position drills which he could not even finish because he was breathing heavily and cramping. He didn’t do other drills, probably because he would have tested poorly.

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Everyone has seen the tape of Carter while playing for Georgia. He looks terrific against college competition and has the size and quickness to probably be very good. But he also shows all the traits of being a complete waste of money. Or in Seahawks terms, Carter appears to be just like Malik McDowell at this point.