The Philadelphia Eagles are setting the record straight after stopping former Georgia star Jalen Carter’s slide on draft day. Questions surrounded Carter’s conditioning level after an underwhelming pro day in March, but head coach Nick Sirianni emphasized the level of concern about their new defensive tackle was “none.” Sirianni attempted to take the pressure off Carter by noting that none of the rookies are in the shape needed to play Week 1 after a going through a long pre-draft process.
“I think that what you’ll see when we’re going out there is that we’re trying to get everybody back into shape- football-playing shape,” Sirianni explained during a May 5, 2023 press conference. “These guys have been in hotels. They’ve been on 30 visits. They’ve been getting ready for pro days. They’ve been getting ready for the combine. So, to say any of them are in really good football shape and they are ready to play a game tomorrow, I would say that’s inaccurate. None of those guys are.
“So, today was not about finding out what their conditioning level was. Today was about going out there and my coaching points to our coaches were, ‘Listen, their bodies are not ready to play yet.’ This is all about protecting the players while still getting ready to play.”
Eagles Rumors: Jalen Carter Was Nine Pounds Heavier at the Georgia Pro Day Than NFL Combine, Says Insider
Concerns over Carter’s conditioning level started to mount during the pre-draft process following ESPN’s Mark Schlabach’s report that the defender was unable to finish position drills during the Georgia pro day while adding he was “nine pounds heavier” than his weight at the NFL combine. During the college football season, Carter was widely considered to be one of the top contenders for the No. 1 pick. The Eagles were able to snag the talented defender by moving up to No. 9.
“Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter was nine pounds heavier than he was at the NFL combine about two weeks ago and couldn’t finish his position drills at Georgia’s pro day on Wednesday,” Schlabach wrote on March 15.
“Carter, who was once considered a potential No. 1 pick in April’s draft, weighed 323 pounds at the pro day. He opted to do only position drills and didn’t participate in other aspects of the workout, including the 40-yard dash, cone drills and other physical tests. Carter didn’t finish the position drills because he was cramping up and breathing heavily.”
New Eagles DT Jalen Carter: ‘You Can Walk Up to Me, You Can Talk to Me’
Sirianni emphasized that being at the correct weight is “not negotiable” for any of the players. The Eagles coach added that his sense is Carter wants to be “the best pro he can be.”
“We obviously went over our team rules and one of those team rules is be on time. Another one of those team rules is be the weight you’re supposed to be, and those are non-negotiable for me,” Sirianni added. “They know that, and we’ll just keep that standard as we go. But yeah, I sense that he wants to be the best pro he can be.”
During an interview with Heavy Sports on the eve of the 2023 NFL draft, Carter responded to the ongoing discussion about his life away from football. Carter described himself as a “business man” and someone who will be approachable to his new fanbase.
“I’m a business man, business first. To the fans, I’m a cool guy,” Carter noted during an April 26 interview. “You can walk up to me, you can talk to me. I’m down to talk to anybody and meet new people.”