Jalen Carter Unleashed: Eagles Rookie DT Proving Rival GMs Wrong

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Eagles Jalen Carter
Philadelphia Eagles first round draft pick Jalen Carter, from the University of Georgia, takes questions from the media during NFL rookie football minicamp, Friday, May 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. Victoria S. Bowles, who was seriously injured in the January car crash that killed Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock and an athletics staffer, has sued the school’s athletics association and former Bulldogs defensive tackle Jalen Carter for damages. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

All the general managers who passed on Jalen Carter due to “character issues” are eating crow right now. The first-round pick out of Georgia has been the most dominant player on the field for the Philadelphia Eagles through five weeks.

An explosive start to Jalen Carter’s career

Coming off a two-sack performance against Los Angeles, Carter has arguably been the best defensive tackle in football. He owns the top pass-rush win rate (20.9%) among all interior defenders — yes, that includes Aaron Donald — despite being double-teamed on 62% of his pass-rush snaps. Further, Carter ranks No. 1 in pressures (23) and hurries (17) while moving into third place in sacks (3.5) among all qualifying defensive tackles. It’s no wonder why head coach Nick Sirianni brought up a certain hallowed hall in Ohio when describing the play of his young defensive stud.

“He’s just got to continue to be on the rise. I think you’ve seen that he’s gotten a little bit better each week,” Sirianni told reporters. “We won’t put him in Canton yet. He’s got to just keep going each and every day and getting better, and it’s about consistency. He’s got the ability to do it. He’s just got to be consistent with it, and that’s by working hard and growing each day.”

Jalen Carter
Newly drafted Philadelphia Eagles’ Jalen Carter smiles while answering a question during a news conference at the NFL football team’s training facility, Friday, April 28, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Jalen Carter is turning heads on a daily basis

Defensive coordinator Sean Desai has been most impressed with the energy that Jalen Carter brings to the huddle. It’s infectious, something that everyone on the roster can feed on. He credited the rookie for helping to unleash Haason Reddick (two game-wrecking sacks) and James Bradberry (one monster pass breakup that should have resulted in an interception) last week against the Rams.

“We obviously see the kind of player he is and that he can be and continues to grow in that role and continues to keep doing better and better every week. There are things he keeps improving on,” Desai told reporters. “And in terms of ripple effect, anytime somebody makes a play, it’s an amplifier, energy. It brings a tremendous amount of energy to the rest of the guys on the squad and he’s a guy that’s been making plays.”

Jalen Carter figures to be a cornerstone of the Eagles’ defense for years to come and is currently the lead favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Eagles Open Practice Window on Nakobe Dean

The Eagles opened the 21-day practice window on Nakobe Dean on October 10 as they look to get their starting middle linebacker back on the field. The team placed the second-year player on injured reserve following a foot injury in Week 1. He made seven tackles on only 49 snaps against New England.

Dean could be added back to the active roster and suit up on Sunday depending on how he looks at practice this week. The deadline to make that decision is Saturday (October 14) at 4 p.m. Zach Cunningham has been filling in for Dean and wearing the green dot as the defensive play-caller while Nicholas Morrow has served as the other starting linebacker. Both players have stepped up in the four games since Dean went down. All three guys could have a role moving forward, according to defensive coordinator Sean Desai.

“We see roles for everybody. That’s how we train our guys; they’ve all got to be ready,” Desai told reporters. “And there’s so many different situations and so many different combinations of things that we can get to that the more talent, the better. The more decisions like that that we have to make the better it is for us.”

AP Photo/Chris Szagola