The Falcons can go any number of directions with a first-round pick. There is no area on the list that does not need an upgrade either side of the ball. However, both Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot have reiterated that pass rushes will be a focus in this offseason, and Jalen Carter will go a long way to fixing that problem.
This completes my series of potential first-round draft targets for the Falcons. If you missed any of the previous editions of this series, follow the links below.
I won’t say much about Galen Carter’s pending legal cases. The full details are not yet known, but if what has been reported is true, the youngster has made a stupid mistake that could cost him handsomely when draft time comes. How far can he fall? I’m not sure anyone can answer that today. So far, I still see him as a player with potential to be in the top 10, but a lot could change between now and then.
Off the field issues aside, Jalen Carter might just be the best player in the draft. He’s been a huge hitter since high school, landing at Georgia as a five-star recruit. He saw action in eight games as a freshman, recording three tackles for loss. As a full-time starter over the next two years, Carter racked up 15.5 tackles for loss to go along with six sacks. These may not be the flashy numbers that scream “elite prospect” but the tape will say otherwise.
Carter is a blocker in the middle of the defensive line. He’s 6-3, 310 pounds and has the strength to move the offensive linemen at will. His speed and athleticism are also the elite for the job. Carter is a great defender for the team, and his impact isn’t always shown on the stat sheet. Next to Grady Jarrett, the two would combine to be one of the most deadly inside linebacker duos in the league.
If there’s one knock on Carter as a prospect, it’s his lack of climactic production. He only had six sacks over three seasons; With that said, the tools are available for him to improve in this area. Will Aaron Donald be the next when it comes to going after quarterbacks? Certainly not, but he will constantly find ways to disrupt the game, against both the run and the pass. I consider Carter a potential not to be missed. At the very least, he’d be a quality player in the NFL.
Photographer: Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire
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