Bears' Decision Proven Right: New Information about Jalen Carter Supports Their Wisdom

Vince Carbonneau
May 24, 2023  (9:27)

Winning a Super Bowl doesn't necessarily require a roster filled with model citizens. This physically demanding sport often calls for players with a rough edge, inevitably leading to risks when dealing with individuals of questionable character.

The question is, where should a team draw the line? The Chicago Bears' connection to Jalen Carter will persist for years, whether they embrace it or not. Many saw the selection of the Georgia defensive tackle as a worthy gamble. His exceptional physical abilities place him on a trajectory towards the Hall of Fame, and he was an ideal match for Matt Eberflus' Tampa-2 defense as a three-technique.
However, Carter's draft stock took a significant hit when he pleaded no contest to charges related to a car-racing accident that tragically claimed the lives of his Georgia teammate, Devin Willock, and program staffer Chandler LeCroy on January 15. As SI reported in March, Carter was sentenced to pay a $1,000 fine, serve 12 months probation, complete 80 hours of community service, and undertake a state-approved defensive driving course.
Tyler Dunne of Go Long recently weighed in on the Seattle Seahawks' draft strategy over the past year, bringing Carter into the conversation. Given the Seahawks' history of taking chances on players with checkered pasts, one might wonder why they passed on Carter.
"I was told the Seahawks were quite pleased that everybody seemed to view their team as Carter's most logical landing spot. It was never going to happen. ('Hell no,' one team source said.) A few people made a late push for Carter in the building but, all along, the Seahawks detected polar-opposite football DNA in these two prospects. Nor were they alone. Multiple teams viewed Carter as 'unapologetic' through the pre-draft process, one source said."

The situation worsened. Throughout the draft process, other teams noticed Carter's apparent lack of enthusiasm. His passion for the game never shone through in interviews, and it appeared he wasn't gaining much support from his teammates or coaches.
"When the Philadelphia Eagles selected him ninth overall, a tearful Carter shared an emotional moment with Commissioner Roger Goodell. Those who chatted with Carter directly around the league were perplexed by the scene. 'That's probably the most emotion that kid has shown his entire life,' one NFC scout said last week. 'Or at least since he's been going through this process — everything going on with his off-field stuff. He couldn't have gone to a better place. A strong D-line room and former teammates to keep his ass in check. If he can't get going there, he deserves to fail. There's too much gray area. Too many unknowns.' Carter was mostly emotionless up to that night. 'For mostly everybody,' this scout added. 'You really couldn't feel him out. We never could figure him out.'"

Teams picking in the top 10 were understandably concerned by the fact that Carter's teammates and coaches in Georgia rarely stood up for him.
As seen at: More Ugly Jalen Carter Revelations Make Bears' Decision Even Better
MAY 24   |   80 ANSWERS
Bears' Decision Proven Right: New Information about Jalen Carter Supports Their Wisdom

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