There’s no doubt the Eagles got a steal of a player in Jalen Carter, but how good can he be in year one? Could he even be the defensive rookie of the year?
We’re still a ways away from watching the Philadelphia Eagles take the field for the 2023 NFL season, but the excitement is already palpable. The expected leap from Jalen Hurts, the additions of backs D’Andre Swift and Rashaad Penny, and the unrelenting desire for revenge after how last season ended are all reasons for eagerness, but it doesn’t end there as last year’s runners-up also landed perhaps the draft’s best player in Jalen Carter.
Although he fell to the ninth selection in the 2023 NFL draft, many felt — and still feel, that Carter was the most talented player in the entirety of the draft. So how did he fall to nine? The answer lies in well-documented off-field issues and the common need to draft a quarterback that teams in the top 10 often need.
Regardless of the why behind Carter’s presence on the Eagles’ roster, he’s in Philadelphia and looking, and expected, to make a significant impact from the jump.
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Jalen Carter sits second-fiddle… for now
Sitting second should not be considered a slight. After all, Will Anderson was long considered a candidate to be selected first overall and was still selected six spots higher than Carter. Still, from a talent standpoint, the two are far closer than their draft position would indicate.
Anderson’s biggest advantage over Carter will likely be tied to his snap count, as the former looks to start while Carter will be a member of a committee line. Even still, that can act as a blessing as much as it can a curse, as the Eagles’ prized defensive rookie will have some attention drawn off him thanks to Philadelphia’s elite line.
Alongside Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat, Jordan Davis, and Nolan Smith, Jalen Carter will have every opportunity to feast in his rookie year despite a limited snap count. Could he have enough opportunity to win the defensive player of the year award? That’s up to him to force the issue, but it’s not hard to see the possibility.
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