There is so much that stands out in Carter’s game. Let’s just start with the strength the 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive lineman possesses. Throughout games, Carter consistently knocks back opposing offensive linemen with this quick burst off the snap and heavy hands.
Even at Carter’s size, he still possesses elite footwork to plant and change direction and hand speed that helps him to quickly get by opposing offensive linemen. Along with football, Carter played basketball and competed in weightlifting while he was at Apopka High School in Florida. This pure athleticism shows up frequently in games, especially when he is utilized in stunts and twists.
Carter’s combination of strength, speed and effort make him a threat that opposing offensive coordinators need to account for on every play. Just look at the attention he received on a few of the snaps in the National Championship against TCU.
In the NFL, Carter will have to continue working on his arsenal of pass rush moves — something that can be said for nearly every defensive lineman entering this draft. He does like to use his swim move, but there were times when offensive linemen took advantage of his open chest, like on this rep that mitigated his pass rush when he played against Tennessee.
In the 2022 regular season, Carter finished with 308 defensive snaps in 10 games. The most snaps he played was against Ohio State in the College Football Playoff. In 55 snaps played, Carter registered just one tackle. The Ohio State offensive line played Carter really well — blocking him with multiple linemen and playing physical throughout the game — and that appeared to take a toll on him in the second half.
He is going to demand a lot of attention in the NFL, so he will have to adapt to that moving forward while also becoming better conditioned to play in a 17-game regular season.
Why Draft Jalen Carter?
The 3-tech position is the most important position on the Bears’ defense. Carter has the ability to be the “engine” that Bears coach Matt Eberflus needs for this defense to work.
Not only would Carter create pressure on opposing quarterbacks up the middle but he immediately helps the unit with stopping the run. With Carter being such a dominant player, opposing offenses will have to devote extra blockers to him, which should help his teammates to get more one-on-one opportunities.
Carter has everything the Bears could want in a defensive lineman, and he would give the organization the long-term disruptor at the 3-tech position.
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