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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Natalie Miller

Jalen Carter’s draft stock falls further after poor showing at Georgia pro day

It has been a rough month for Jalen Carter. The ultra-talented defensive lineman from Georgia has been dealing with a reckless driving charge stemming from a January car crash that killed one of his former teammates and a Bulldogs football staff member, along with reported leaks of his “character concerns.”

The last thing he needed was another reason for NFL teams and media to talk about him in a negative light, or give them more reasons to avoid drafting one of the top-rated players on most team boards.

He did himself no favors this week when he showed up to his pro day at 323 pounds and clearly out of shape for what was essentially the most important job interview of his life. Carter struggled to complete the drills assigned to him on the day, and he also opted to participate in positional drills only. Carter opted not to take part in the other portion of the pro day workout, which included a 40-yard dash, agility drills and basic physical tests.

This is exactly the thing he should want to avoid. Showing up in shape and dominating all the drills would have surely quieted at least some of the noise surrounding his off-field issues. Now those concerns rise to the surface once again and likely have teams questioning Carter’s dedication to the sport based on a clear lack of preparation for his pro day. It leaves people questioning what sort of effort he will give on a week-to-week basis if he cannot put forth the work for a pro day he knew about weeks in advance.

This is not to say Carter cannot improve. He is obviously going through a lot in his life, and this is in no way indicative that he is this type of person all the time. Carter consistently dominated at Georgia and clearly worked hard to get to the position he is in now. There must be urgency put forth on his side to recognize the alarm bells that are being set off in each team’s building regarding perhaps the most talented player in the entire draft. Carter must find a way to prove to teams he is the player who dominated every Saturday and not the one who showed up to the Georgia pro day.

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