Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter back in the news again; untested young QBs available?
Things have gone from bad to worse for Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter, once ranked as the No. 1 prospect by many draft evaluators.
Media reports say the 6-foot-3 Carter weighed 323 pounds at Georgia’s Pro Day on Wednesday, which is nine pounds heavier than his weight at the Combine two weeks ago. Carter also allegedly struggled through the few drills set up for defensive linemen and did not participate in other skills tests, including the 40-yard dash.
As jeff Schultz of The Athletic said, “It was clearly not nine pounds of added muscle. He looked flabby. He looked overly winded after drills. He looked like a risk for any team that might decide to hand him a $20 million-plus signing bonus.”
Carter, currently ranked No. 16 in the Fanspeak-Jake Rigdon big board, is expected to fall even further in the next update.
It wasn’t all bad news for Carter.
He will not face jail time after pleading no contest to two misdemeanor charges of racing and reckless driving, according to media reports. Carter was sentenced to 12 months’ probation, a $1,000 fine and 80 hours of community service. He also must complete a state-approved driving class.
Carter was charged earlier this month after an investigation found that he had been racing a car Jan. 15 that was driven by Chandler LeCroy, a recruiting analyst for the team. LeCroy’s car crashed, killing him and his passenger, offensive lineman Devin Willock.
Carter was interviewed on the scene, a police spokesman said, and was told he could leave. Carter was later asked back to the scene to answer more questions. His lawyer said Carter had not been drinking and was not under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident.
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Will Green Bay consider drafting one of the top-four quarterbacks if any of them fall in the first round? Or will the Packers package its two first-round picks – assuming the team picks up at least one first-rounder from the New York Jets in a trade for Rodgers – to move up in the draft for one of those top signal-callers?
The point is, don’t assume that Jordan Love will be the quarterback next season for Green Bay.
Love is one of several young untested QBs whose teams may be looking to move on from them – but not necessarily for performance reasons. Rather, it’s more of a case of “trading up.”
Love, 2022 third-rounder Matt Corral, and Trey Lance, the third pick of the 2021 draft, have received little to no playing time due to injuries or, in Love’s case, sitting behind a future Hall of Famer. Include Houston’s Davis Mills in that mix, too, if the Texans draft a QB in the first round.
A team like Washington, who is reportedly willing to start 2022 fifth-rounder Sam Howell this year, probably wouldn’t be interested. Same goes for other teams that already have young QBs like Atlanta and Tennessee, all of whom likely wouldn’t view Love, Corral, Lance or Mills as “trading up.”
But there will be a market for them.
Just wait for that first team with playoff aspirations to lose its quarterback for an extended period during training camp or early in the season.
How much would Philadelphia be willing to give up if Jalen Hurts goes down for, say, four weeks? What if Seattle’s Geno Smith misses significant time?
Therefore, expect some of these teams to hang onto those QB assets until training camp starts, when it becomes a seller’s market. The reverse is true, too; if a team like Minnesota, for example, wants to have a bit of insurance should it’s older QB miss time, then it makes more sense to offer up picks for that player now rather than when you need that QB, as the asking price would probably be lower this close to the draft.
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Some tight end news from WalterFootball.
Draft analysts universally praise the 2023 tight end class, with team sources identifying six as locks to be gone by the end of the second round, according to the site. That includes Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer, Utah’s Dalton Kincaid, Georgia’s Darnell Washington, Iowa’s Sam LaPorta, Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave and South Dakota State’s Tucker Kraft.
Those are the same top six tight ends in the Fanspeak-Rigdon big board, with Kraft the lowest-ranked at No. 72, which makes him a fringe-second rounder.
However, it’s a very top-heavy draft for TEs.
After Kraft, the next-highest ranked tight end is Purdue’s Payne Durham, a 30-plus drop at No. 105.
Overall, there are only 14 TEs ranked among the top 261 picks. By comparison, 2022 was supposed to be a mediocre year for the position, with only one, Colorado State’s Trey McBride, picked in the first two rounds.
Ultimately, 19 TEs were drafted last year.
So don’t buy into this year being a “great year” for the position; the more accurate assessment would be to call it a “top heavy” year for the position. In other words, the best tight ends should all be gone by the third round.
LaPorta, by the way, is a dark-horse candidate to go on Day 1, according to the most recent Hot Press report by WalterFootball.
Jake Rigdon (@jrigdon73) covers the NFL draft for Fanspeak.com. His big board is updated at least once per week during the season and leading up to the draft. Message him on Twitter to receive $3 off your new Ultimate GM subscription.