Cardinals had ‘a really good interview’ with NFL prospect Jalen Carter

Mar 9, 2023, 8:00 PM
Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter speaks during a media day ahead of the national championship...

Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter speaks during a media day ahead of the national championship NCAA College Football Playoff game between Georgia and TCU, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023, in Los Angeles. The championship football game will be played Monday. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

TEMPE — Georgia defensive lineman and top-10 draft prospect Jalen Carter made headlines for the wrong reasons during the 2023 NFL Draft Combine earlier this month.

Carter, who has been heavily mocked to the Cardinals at No. 3 this offseason, was arrested during the week of workouts on a pair of misdemeanors for his alleged involvement in a deadly car accident that killed a teammate and staffer.

And although he turned himself in and provided a statement on his innocence before returning to Indianapolis to complete his combine workouts, measurements and team interviews, the prospect’s draft stock was certainly impacted one way or another.

It’s a circumstance both new general manager Monti Ossenfort and first-year head coach Jonathan Gannon are keeping tabs on as they continue their draft prep.

“We monitor the situations of all acquisition pieces,” Gannon said Thursday. “They’re on all that. We had a good talk with him at the combine.

“It was a really good interview, but we have our hand on all those things.”

Since Carter turned himself in, most mock drafts have shied away from using a top-3 pick on the lineman.

In what started as a tight race between Will Anderson Jr. and Carter to go No. 3 to Arizona has seen some separation following the latter’s arrest, with Anderson the undisputed leader in the Arizona Sports’ Mock Draft Tracker.

ESPN’s Toddy McShay even has him as low as 12th in his latest mock, while others are putting him in the Nos. 4-5 range.

Carter could very well be out of the question for the Cardinals at No. 3 given the unknown surrounding the situation.

But what about later in the first round?

With the Cardinals’ phones open for business in regards to potentially dealing the pick, there’s the potential Arizona might have an opportunity to nab Carter a few picks later in addition to securing additional future assets.

Because from a production standpoint, Carter would definitely help fill a need along the interior of the defensive line. In his final two seasons at Georgia (33 games), Carter racked up 15.5 tackles for loss to go along with six sacks. He knows a thing or two about winning on the biggest stage, too, securing back-to-back national championships.

It just all comes down to the reward outweighing the risk for Ossenfort and Gannon.

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