Pete Carroll Breaks Silence on Seahawks Not Drafting Jalen Carter

Jalen Carter

Getty Top prospect Jalen Carter is introduced during the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station on April 27, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri.

There was a lot of talk of the Seattle Seahawks possibly drafting a quarterback with their No. 5 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft, but the consensus pointed toward the team selecting Georgia standout Jalen Carter. While the defensive tackle was considered the No. 1 overall prospect, his off-the-field behavior was a cause for concern.

During an appearance on the “Chuck and Buck” radio show on Wednesday, May 3, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll finally opened up on why they skipped over Carter to land cornerback Devon Witherspoon, a move that came as a huge surprise for both fans and analysts.

“We spent a lot of time (with Carter) and felt comfortable that we knew what we were dealing with,” Carroll said, per The Seattle Times‘ Bob Condotta. “There was just a special aspect of Devon and the way that he fit in. Was going to be a rare opportunity, so we jumped at it.”

Carroll’s carefully worded answer seems to insinuate that they were comfortable with their assessment of Carter, but perhaps not comfortable adding him as a player. Due to the Seahawks’ experience with Malik McDowell, their second-round pick from the 2017 NFL draft, perhaps Carroll and Seahawks general manager John Schneider wanted to steer clear of any possible drama.

Jalen Carter

GettyGeorgia’s Jalen Carter celebrates after defeating TCU in the College Football Playoff National Championship on January 9, 2023.

Carter’s draft stock plummeted after he pleaded no contest to charges stemming from a car-racing incident that resulted in a crash that killed his Georgia teammate, Devin Willock, and program staffer Chandler LeCroy on January 15. In March, Carter was sentenced to pay a $1,000 fine, serve 12 months of probation, 80 hours of community service, and complete a state-approved defensive driving course, SI reported.

More red flags popped up when the 22-year-old arrived at the NFL Combine 9 pounds overweight and struggled to finish position drills at Georgia’s pro day, per ESPN.

An Eye-Opening Report Regarding Jalen Carter’s Character was Released After the Draft

The Philadelphia Eagles ultimately traded up to land Carter, who recorded a total of 83 total tackles, 6 sacks, 4 passes defended and 2 forced fumbles during his three years at Georgia.

After Day 1 concluded, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio shared a concerning report regarding the Eagles’ newest star. Florio wrote, “When it comes to defensive tackle Jalen Carter, the word making the rounds before the draft was that the Georgia coaches did not have nice things to say. (We specifically decided not to mention any of that until after he was picked, so as not to participate in the pre-draft effort to get guys to fall.)

“Ian Rapoport of NFL Media hinted at that last night after Carter became the ninth overall pick in the draft. We’ve heard it more bluntly and strongly. Members of the Georgia coaching staff are not Jalen Carter fans, and they weren’t bashful about saying so.”

Seahawks Thrilled With CB Devon Witherspoon

While Carter has the perfect opportunity to prove naysayers wrong with a fresh start in Philadelphia, the Seahawks are thrilled to be moving forward with their first-round pick.

Carroll told reporters after drafting Witherspoon, “He is a rare player and we’ve been through this draft, since the years we’ve been here, we haven’t seen a guy like this. We have not drafted corners high just because we haven’t come across a guy with his makeup. It’s really his athletic ability, it’s his speed, it’s his playmaking, and it’s his mentality. I haven’t come across a guy like this in a long time.”

“He’s physical, he’s tough, he has an attitude, he’s going to bring it, and he’s going to fit right in with the guys.”

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