With the 2023 NFL draft approaching, the Seattle Seahawks appear to have their eyes on former Georgia Bulldogs defensive tackle Jalen Carter. Heavy Sports NFL insider Matt Lombardo reported the Seahawks “love” Carter likely preferring the dominant defender over the top quarterback prospects with the No. 5 selection.
“Who knows what actually happens Thursday night, but one takeaway from multiple conversations I’ve had is the Seahawks ‘LOVE’ Jalen Carter,” Lombardo tweeted on April 25, 2023. “Very conceivable they have him higher on their board than any of the quarterbacks.”
The Seahawks may be deliberately generating headlines with quarterback selfies as a smokescreen disguising their desire to land one of the top defenders. How Seattle truly views Carter has emerged as one of the bigger storylines heading into the NFL draft.
Carter was once projected as a potential candidate to be the No. 1 pick but an underwhelming pro day combined with an investigation into his potential involvement in a deadly car accident has created uncertainty about his NFL future.
Yet, Carter’s upside on the football field may be too enticing for Seattle to pass on believing in head coach Pete Carroll’s successful track record of giving players a fresh start. ESPN’s Matt Miller sees Carter’s best NFL comparison as Eagles six-time Pro Bowl defender Fletcher Cox.
NFL Draft Rumors: Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll ‘Loves’ Jalen Carter
Carter has been one of the prospects most tied to the Seahawks with the No. 5 pick during the pre-draft process. There are conflicting beliefs over whether Seattle will take a chance on Carter. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported that Carroll “loves the Georgia game-wrecker.”
“This [No. 5 pick], to me, is the ceiling for Carter. I’ve heard that Pete Carroll loves the Georgia game-wrecker, and that the Seahawks had a good 30 visit with him,” Breer wrote on April 24. “That said, Seattle GM John Schneider has had his ups and downs with such gambles in the past, and it’s fair to wonder if his experience with Malik McDowell a few years back would have a material effect on whether or not he’d spend the fifth pick on someone with Carter’s file.
“I also wouldn’t rule out Richardson; Schneider and Carroll really liked Josh Allen a few years ago, and there are some parallels with this one, including the fact that they wouldn’t have to rush him out onto the field as a rookie.”
The Seahawks May Be Apprehensive to Draft Jalen Carter Given History With Malik McDowell: Report
Some are more skeptical about the Seahawks’ interest level in taking Carter. According to NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, the sense around the league is that Seattle will likely pass on the former Bulldogs defensive tackle.
Jeremiah cited the team’s troubling experience with Malik McDowell as one of the potential reasons why the Seahawks will exercise caution with the No. 5 pick. Seattle selected McDowell in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft, but the defender never played a snap for the Seahawks.
“He’s [Carter] a great player, there’s no question about that and I’ve had a tough time pegging him [to a team],” Jeremiah explained on “The Season with Peter Schrager” during an April 20 podcast episode. “There seems to be sentiment that teams I’ve talking to do not expect Seattle [to draft Carter].
“I thought Seattle would be in play with Jalen Carter. The stuff I’ve got back was the Malik McDowell experience in Seattle could have soured them on taking a chance here [at No. 5]. So, we’ll see.”