American Football

NFL Combine Day 2: Jalen Carter makes headlines without speaking


NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Texas Christian at Georgia
Jalen Carter | Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana — Defensive linemen and linebackers spoke to the media at the NFL combine today, which should pique the interest of Las Vegas Raiders fans as the Raiders are certainly in the market for both.

I won’t bury the lead here and start by going over the situation with University of Georgia defensive tackle, Jalen Carter.

For those who are unaware, the Athens-Clarke County Police Department has issued two misdemeanor warrants for Carter’s arrest for reckless driving and racing. This is in connection to the single-vehicle car accident that led to the death of Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock and recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy shortly after the Bulldogs’ National Championship game earlier this year.

The news broke while other players were speaking to the media, and just about everyone in the media room was shocked when the news broke. Carter was scheduled to be at the podium today at 10:30 a.m. EST, however, he left Indianapolis and returned to Athens.

Later in the day, he released the statement below via his Twitter account:

“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. 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.”

As far as how this particular incident will impact Carter’s NFL Draft stock, it’s far too early to tell and the legal process needs to play out. However, if he doesn’t get exonerated quickly or before next month’s draft, then teams could certainly get wary of spending a top-five pick on someone who is facing criminal charges.

ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay reported that NFL teams have character concerns about Carter, but that report was before the Jan. 15 incident and centered around how the Bulldog treats his teammates. It’s also worth noting that several Georgia players have refuted McShay’s claims.

I’m sure one question on your mind is: “Would the Raiders still draft Carter if he ends up sliding to No. 7 overall?” Again, I don’t have any inside information on the matter or how the team feels about it, but my gut says ‘no.’

If this is resolved and the charges are dropped, Carter still will probably be one of the first non-quarterbacks off the board. And if he isn’t, I’m not sure the Raiders would want to take on that PR nightmare after the Henry Ruggs III tragedy that happened less than two years ago. Las Vegas does have a new coaching staff and front office since that incident, but this could be a situation where the business side of the organization and/or Mark Davis steps in and says no.

Moving on to other prospects and news from the Day 2 of the combine.

The Raiders seem to be very interested in defensive linemen Tyree Wilson from Texas Tech and Myles Murphy from Clemson. That’s more my read on the situation than an “inside scoop”, but one reason why I came to that conclusion is reporters who are typically “in the know” flocked to Wilson’s podium once his name tent was placed on the desk. A lot of those same reporters have also been talking about Murphy and were present at his presser, too.

Both guys would be excellent additions to Las Vegas’ defensive line as they both can lineup at multiple spots. Wilson is the more physically imposing of the two who can play as a three-technique defensive tackle on occasion and as a five-tech defensive end. While Murphy is an athletic freak at 275 pounds and said he expects to run the 40-yard dash in the 4.5- to the 4.6-second range.

My preference is for Murphy but, of course, that means absolutely nothing! I’ve written a couple of scouting reports on both players, so if you’d like to get the full details on each player and form your own opinion, click here for Wilson and here for Murphy.

2021 Pac-12 Championship
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Noah Sewell

Per S&BP’s Marcus Johnson, Oregon linebacker Noah Sewell had a formal visit with the Raiders. It’s no secret that Las Vegas could use some linebackers and Sewell is an excellent run defender that could fill the void Denzel Perryman leaves, if Perryman ends up going elsewhere in free agency.

However, the Duck is a bit of a liability in coverage. At 250 lbs, he’s not a great mover in coverage who can guard NFL running backs and tight ends man-to-man, and his eye discipline in zone coverage is worrisome to me.

Head coach Josh McDaniels said yesterday that he’s looking for defenders who can either make plays on the ball or get after the quarterback, and Sewell isn’t someone I’d trust in coverage. However, he is a decent pass-rusher for an off-ball linebacker and can be used in that regard if need be.

The Raiders also appear to be interested in Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell. This year’s Butkus Award winner is another excellent run defender, and I think he has more potential in coverage than Sewell does.

Probably the biggest knock on Campbell right now is that he isn’t a top-tier athlete, however, he has better movement skills than other people have given him credit for, in my opinion. How well he tests during tomorrow’s on-field workouts will either confirm or refute those presumptions.

Scouting Reports: Sewell, Campbell

Below is a roundup of a few videos and quotes I gathered from today’s press conferences. Make sure to follow me on Twitter to get the live updates, @MHolder95.

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