Will teams delay on taking Jalen Carter like Sapp, Moss?
Apr 25, 2023, 10:20 AM
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Warren Sapp and Randy Moss waited longer than expected to hear their names called in the first round of the NFL draft because teams were concerned about off-field issues.
Both players ended up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Jalen Carter was once projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in this week’s draft before the Chicago Bears made a trade with the quarterback-needy Carolina Panthers. Now, there are questions about how far the Georgia standout defensive lineman may slip because of his involvement in a car crash that killed Bulldogs offensive lineman Devin Willock and a recruiting staffer, Chandler LeCroy.
Carter was given one year’s probation and fined $1,000 last month after pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing related to the wreck.
Considered the best interior defensive lineman in the draft, Carter has the talent to be selected among the top five. If he drops, it’ll be because of character concerns.
“He came in and he did a nice job,” Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes said of Carter’s visit with the team. “It’s always case-by-case. He came in, we enjoyed our time with him, did a nice job. I’ll say even after he left his visit, I felt better about him.”
The Lions own the sixth overall pick and need defensive help so Carter is an ideal fit. The Seattle Seahawks, who have the fifth pick, also need a defensive tackle.
“We’ve got some work to do,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said about the position.
Do the Lions or Seahawks take Carter? He’ll find out Thursday night.
Here are six players who saw their stock fall on draft day:
WARREN SAPP: The Miami defensive tackle was expected to be picked as high as No. 5 in the 1995 draft until reports that he had failed several drug tests began to surface a night before the first round. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers snapped him up at No. 12 and didn’t regret it. Sapp became a four-time All-Pro, went to seven Pro Bowls and helped the Buccaneers win a Super Bowl. He was the 1999 AP Defensive Player of the Year and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.
RANDY MOSS: After Notre Dame revoked his scholarship offer and Florida State dismissed him for allegedly failing a drug test, Randy Moss ended up at Marshall and displayed superstar potential. He had the talent to be picked in the top 10 with most experts pegging him to go to the Dallas Cowboys at No. 8 in the 1998 draft. But too many character concerns caused him to fall to the Minnesota Vikings at No. 21. Moss made an instant impact with the Vikings, winning the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award and finishing third in MVP voting. He ended up going to six Pro Bowls, was a four-time All-Pro and was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2018.
DEZ BRYANT: After missing out on Moss, the Cowboys didn’t make the same mistake with Dez Bryant in 2010. They traded up to select the Oklahoma State wideout at No. 24 after Bryant’s stock dropped for a few reasons. Bryant lied to investigators about an improper meeting with Deion Sanders, forgot to bring his cleats to his pro day and lashed out at critics who questioned his maturity. He made three Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro one time in eight seasons in Dallas.
JOHNNY MANZIEL: Johnny Football was considered a potential No. 1 pick after declaring for the draft in 2014 following his sophomore season at Texas A&M. But questions about Manziel’s maturity due to his party antics and behavior turned teams away. The Cleveland Browns moved up to get him at No. 22. He lasted just two seasons and started eight games.
LA’EL COLLINS: The LSU tackle was projected to be a top-10 pick in 2015 but he was named in a murder investigation just two days before the draft. Though he was never a suspect, Collins wasn’t cleared by police until after the draft. He went undrafted and signed with the Cowboys. He started 71 games in six seasons in Dallas and 15 for the Bengals last season.
LAREMY TUNSIL: Before the Rams and Eagles traded up to get the first two picks to draft QBs, Laremy Tunsil was considered the No. 1 overall pick. Then, minutes before the draft, a video of him inhaling marijuana was posted on Twitter. The Miami Dolphins took Tunsil at No. 13 and he’s thrived after going to Houston in 2019. Tunsil has been to three Pro Bowls in the past four seasons and signed a $75 million, three-year contract in the offseason.