ATHENS, Ga. — Former Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter didn’t help himself during the school’s Pro Day workout Wednesday.
He showed up overweight and didn’t finish the position drills. He ended things lying on the field, receiving treatment for leg cramps.
Carter, who was considered one of the top players in the NFL draft, didn’t workout at the league’s scouting combine. He didn’t participate in the field events at the Pro Day and lumbered through most of the position drills.
All 32 NFL teams were represented, including three head coaches, Arthur Smith (Falcons), Matt Eberflus (Bears) and Mike Tomlin (Steelers).
The Falcons also had several scouts, vice president of player personnel Kyle Smith and defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen on hand.
Carter, who’s 6-foot-3, weighed in at 323 pounds. That was nine pounds heavier than the 314 pounds he weighed at the combine.
Carter elected not to speak to the media after his shocking workout.
Carter hasn’t spoken to media members since it was reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he left the scene of the car crash that killed former Georgia player Devin Willock and staff member Chandler LeCroy on Jan. 15. Even before the reports of Carter leaving the scene were released, his character was under scrutiny.
NFL teams wanted to see if Carter could put forth a dominant workout, but he came up way short.
The draft is set for April 27-29 in Kansas City, Mo., and Carter may drop out of the top 10 picks, though there are several defense-needy teams drafting in the top 10. Seattle (sixth overall pick), Falcons (eighth) and the Bears (ninth) all need defensive help. He likely wouldn’t get past the Eagles, who hold the 10th pick.
“He’s a generational talent,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “He’s very talented. I’ve been coaching for 18 years, and there are very few guys I’ve coached that have the talent that he has.”
Carter has been dealing with his role in the crash and with being arrested on two misdemeanor charges. He’s due in court April 18.
His former teammates were left to speak on his behalf.
“Jalen is around; he knows who he is,” quarterback Stetson Bennett IV said. “We all know who he is.”
Carter rarely spoke to the media at Georgia.
“We know what comes with the territory with where we are now,” Bennett said. “Things are going to be out, and the situations we put ourselves in, we have to be responsible. Be a grown man. It’s our job. I think he understands that. I think he’s a good person.”
Bennett had his own postseason arrest in Texas for public intoxication. But Bennett spoke to the media about his situation at the combine.
Carter is not as smooth when doing interviews.
“He doesn’t talk much,” Bennett said. “He comes in and does his job.”
Carter played in 35 games for the Bulldogs and had 83 tackles, 18.5 for loss, and six sacks.
“He knows that he’s the best one on the field, and he does things the right way,” Bennett said. “He’s in the right gaps so the (linebackers) can fit. He doesn’t mind defending the run. He can obviously get after the quarterback.
“He’s strong and has suddenness. If you look at him, he’s always in a power position. That’s why he blows people off the line. That’s why I think he’s a special player.”
Georgia defensive end Robert Beal also backed Carter.
“It was great,” Beal said. “We were cracking jokes just like we used to in the locker room. It was a great time with all of my guys.”
Beal also believes Carter’s draft status should not be affected.
“He’s definitely worthy,” Beal said. “I wouldn’t look at all of that stuff if I was them. If I was a team, I’d take him over anyone, honestly.”
Beal was asked what kind of teammate was Carter.
“Funny, caring,” Beal said. “He doesn’t really talk much, but when he speaks everybody listens. A real funny guy, too.”
Kearis Jackson time
Wide receiver Kearis Jackson said he didn’t field any questions about Carter from NFL teams.
“Honestly, no team has asked me about the situation that happened at Georgia,” Jackson said. “I wasn’t connected to any of the situations, and pretty much the interviews were about Kearis Jackson.”
Kirby Smart on Broderick Jones
With Carter’s stock taking a hit, offensive tackle Broderick Jones could be the first Bulldog drafted.
“He’s really talented,” Smart said. “When you look at the guys we’ve had, they’ve got length, they’ve got athleticism. He’s probably faster and may be twitchier than some of those getting to the second level. Maybe not a powerful as (former Georgia lineman) Andrew (Thomas) and some of those guys, but in a (pass-protection) league, you need that.”
Smart on Robert Beal
Beal said he sees himself as a hand-in-the-ground defensive end in the NFL.
“Pass rusher, great athlete, tough and physical,” Smart said. “Robert is going to be successful at the next level.”
NFL running back
Running back Kenny McIntosh believes he fits well in NFL offenses.
“We had a pro-style offense here at Georgia, so I feel like (in) any offense, I can go in and be the Day 1 starter,” McIntosh said. “We did the outside zone, inside zone. They lined me up at slot, whatever they want me to do. We did it here at Georgia, so I feel comfortable.”