Jalen Carter: Pro player comparisons for the Eagles’ 2023 NFL Draft selection

After heaving speculation, dozens of Bijan Robinson mock drafts, and last-second smokescreens involving Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Howie Roseman and the Philadelphia Eagles stuck to their guns, stuck to their traditional team-building strategy, and traded up one spot with the Chicago Bears – for the low, low price of pick 10 and a 2024 fourth-round pick – to grab their guy at pick 9: Jalen Carter, defensive tackle, Georgia.

Arguably the most talented player in the 2023 NFL Draft who fell due to off-the-field issues, Carter joins Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean in the middle of new defensive coordinator Sean Desai’s scheme, where he will be able to play in place of and alongside Fletcher Cox as the team’s four tech defensive end who can kick even closer to the center on obvious passing downs and in defensive sub-packages.

Needless to say, this selection is an A+ home run – to mix metaphors ever so slightly – but who, you may ask, does Carter compare to as a pro? Well, fear not, for plenty of people who know a lot about football have pro comps for the 22-year-old collegiate Bulldog who will make Eagles fans very excited indeed. #FlyEaglesFly

3 Pro Comps for new Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Jalen Carter.

.@breadmanjalen, YOU ARE AN EAGLE#NFLDraft | #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/mea68D4YSA

— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) April 28, 2023

3. Quinnen Williams

In the opinion of Pro Football Focus, Carter is about as bluechip a prospect as they come in the 2023 NFL Draft; he’s dominant in the eye test, dominant in traditional analytics, and one of the highest-graded players in the history of PFF’s advanced analytical metrics. So, it’s no wonder the company’s 2023 draft guide not only labeled him a top-5 pick but boldly declared him the best prospect since Quinnen Williams, who is about to get paid by the New York Jets.

“Jalen Carter is neck and neck with Quinnen Williams for the best defensive tackle prospect we’ve graded at PFF (since 2014),” PFF wrote. “Williams was a touch quicker, while Carter is a bit more powerful, but it’s darn close. Carter finished 2022 with a Power Five-leading 92.3 overall grade.”

Now granted, PFF didn’t actually compare Carter to Williams on the field, they projected his playing style to be more similar to long-time Panthers’ cornerstone Kawann Short, but in terms of impact, getting a Williams-style player for the low-low price of the 10th overall pick and a 2024 fourth-round pick is a pretty incredible value, even if he’s likely going to become very expensive in the not too distant future.

2. Jeffery Simmons

Heading into the 2023 NFL Draft, there was heavy speculation that the Eagles could trade their second first-round pick, selection 30th overall, to the Tenessee Titans for disgruntled defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, as Simmons and the Titans reconciled and agreed to a very big money extension, but, in the opinion of NFL.com Draft Analyst Lance Zierlein, the Eagles may have just landed the next best thing on a serious financial discount.

“When assessing a player’s draft grade, we take into consideration areas like traits, toughness, explosiveness, skill level, potential for growth, and positional projections,” Zierlein wrote. “Across the board, Jalen Carter checks out in a big way. However, his maturity will need to be vetted by each team as they make their evaluations. The tape shows a defender with odd- or even-front versatility and a rare blend of first-step quickness and leverage through contact. He’s capable of finding quick wins against sloppy guard play and finishes the play once he’s in the backfield. His hand usage can be violent or subtle, but the feet are always active and searching for an opening. Based upon talent, traits, and projection, Carter appears ready to step into the NFL and become a productive three-down talent with Pro Bowl potential.”

If Carter can play at the same level as Simmons in the NFL, his drafting will be a home run, as Simmons has already been named to two Pro Bowls before he turned 26.

1. Fletcher Cox

And last but not least, when envisioning Carter into the Eagles’ scheme, it hard not to project him filling a similar role to the player he’s been drafted to replace, Fletcher Cox.

Like Cox, Carter is a big strong, interior mover of men who can dominate the B Gap and make plays against the run and the pass. Though Cox may no longer be a dominant presence on every snap of every game – he was signed to a $100 million contract for a reason – he’s still an effective 4 tech base tackle who can slide inside to rush off the center’s shoulder in order to inflict maximum carnage right in the quarterback’s face. Play Carter next to Cox in defensive subpackages, play him next to his collegiate teammate, Davis, in base; however you want to play him, Carter is a foundational talent who may just become the face of the Eagles’ defense in the 2020s just like how Cox was in the 2010s.

Carter will be playing a lot of 4i technique with B gap responsibility in the Tite front (base) and Penny. He can rush from a Shade, 2i, or 3 technique in sub. Fits what Desai wants to do perfectly.

— Honest NFL (@TheHonestNFL) April 28, 2023

The post Jalen Carter: Pro player comparisons for the Eagles’ 2023 NFL Draft selection appeared first on ClutchPoints.

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