Amid charges of racing and reckless driving applied to Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter, some believe his stock in the draft will slightly drop in part because of his criminal issues and immaturity.
Originally projected to be a top-5 pick in the upcoming NFL draft, NFL expert Adam Schefter believes teams are willing to pass on Carter. He says the Bears have a "real chance" of drafting him at the No. 9 position.
"I think there's a real chance he's gonna be there for them," Schefter said of Carter on ESPN 1000 with Peggy & Dionne. "And they're gonna have to do the work on him and spend some time. And I know they'll be at his pro day, watching him closely, meeting with him. And once they do that they can decide what they want to do."
A warrant for Carter's arrest was released during the beginning days of this offseason's NFL combine at the beginning of March. Carter traveled back to Georgia from Indianapolis, paid bail for his charges and returned to the combine to complete his physical evaluations.
Carter released a statement later on that Wednesday with the confidence he would be exonerated of the charges:
“This morning I received a telephone call from the Athens, Georgia police department informing me that two misdemeanor warrants have been issued against me for reckless driving and racing,” Carter said in the statement. “Numerous media reports also have circulated this morning containing inaccurate information concerning the tragic events of January 15, 2023. It is my intention to return to Athens to answer the misdemeanor charges against me and to make certain that the complete and accurate truth is presented. There is no question in my mind that when all of the facts are known that I will be fully exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing.”
MORE: Arrest warrant issued for Jalen Carter
Carter's flashes of immaturity would not fit with Ryan Poles' and Matt Eberflus' constant preaching of finding players who have a passion for the game. The Bears' tandem constantly reiterates the organization looks for people with a passionate drive for the game of football.
Not saying Carter doesn't have that, but his run-ins with the law point to immaturity and a lack of focus. Carter also handled his situation poorly, fleeing the scene of the crime and then returning, only to mislead the police about his whereabouts from a crash that happened as a result of his racing.
Certainly, it's not a situation NFL teams can look past. But considering Carter's talent and value for NFL teams, it would be difficult for the Bears to turn him down if he's available at the No. 9 pick. He's believed to be the best defensive prospect in the upcoming draft.
Schefter believes Carter will be available for the Bears to take with the No. 9 pick. And surely, Poles' and Eberflus' core, team values will be tested.
"He'll be a guy that's in consideration for that No. 9 spot and it wouldn't surprise me if he were there," Schefter said.