Will Jalen Carter be on Seattle’s board?

Jalen Carter reportedly will meet with the Seahawks in the “coming days” – and it will be one of the most important pre-draft meetings in franchise history.

Carter, one of the top two defenders in this draft, is almost surely going to be available when the Seahawks draft at No. 5. Talent-wise, he seems like a perfect fit, but in nearly every other way he sure seems like the anti-Seahawk.

All signs indicate he would be the second coming of Aaron Curry (Seattle’s 2009 bust at No. 4 overall who never earned the millions he was paid). The current Hawks have their own cautionary tale as well in Malik McDowell, their top pick in 2017 who never played for them.

Plenty of fans think the Hawks have removed Carter from their board, given these reported problems: bad attitude with Georgia coaches, (resolved) charges out of a deadly car race, a poor Pro Day where he was overweight and out of shape, a part-time player with unimpressive stats, refusing to meet with teams not in the top 10.

ESPN’s Todd McShay gave these red flags: “There’s a lot of football character stuff. Practice habits, not giving great effort in practice, talking back to coaches, coaches not being able to coach him hard.”

Since Carter likely will be the most talented player available at 5, the Seahawks surely are doing their very best diligence on him and trying to determine whether he is in fact coachable and whether he would be worth that major investment.

As Schneider said on his radio show on Seattle Sports 710, “Obviously, I’m sure a lot of people want to spend time with Jalen.”

Well, the Seahawks will get their time with him in the next week or so, according to Peter King.

Some think Carter would thrive under Carroll in Seattle.

Bucky Brooks of NFL Media: “When you look at what the talent is between the lines, it’s everything that the Seattle Seahawks have been looking for – a dominant interior player, outstanding athlete, great instincts, awareness and disruptive potential. If he’s available and all the other things check out, it’s the perfect situation for him. Because you’ve gotta remember: The Pacific Northwest is a long way away from the Southeast. You can put him up there, tuck him away, have him around the right people and allow him to play and do what he does well. It can be really, really mutually beneficial.”

Matt Miller of ESPN: “I think you’ve got such a good leadership group, and that’s what Jalen Carter needs. … This isn’t a person who’s a bad guy; he just needs leadership. He needs somebody that will put their arm around him and say, ‘Hey, here’s how we do things.’ And you have Bobby Wagner, you have Jarran Reed, Dre’Mont Jones, Quandre Diggs. You have leaders, like capital L leaders, on this defense. And you also have a head coach, Pete Carroll, who is able to garner respect from so many different types of players. I actually think Seattle is probably the best-case scenario for Jalen Carter to meet his ceiling because you’ve got the structure there that he needs.”

But would Carroll’s buddy-buddy approach and some tough love from team leaders be enough to mature this kid and make sure he doesn’t just take the money and run? Do they have the power to prevent him from becoming an Aaron Curry bust burger? Can they make him more competitive, more inspired to be in shape?

On top of that: Even if he toed the line, would Carter ever be capable of playing starter’s reps in the NFL? Or did he get so spoiled playing part time on a talented Georgia line that he would be overwhelmed playing full time against NFL talent?

In 2018, the year after the McDowell debacle, the Seahawks got a lot stricter about their draft criteria.

“I think one of the things we’ve done is really cleaned up,” Schneider said then. “There aren’t as many names on our board. You have to have certain criteria to be on our board, and we’re making less excuses for players.

“What happens is you end up kind of ignoring some of those red flags if you feel like you have a specific need or fit for a player,” he said. “I think it’s happened in the past. It’ll probably happen in the future. But we just want to limit those.”

Carter has plenty of red flags. Will this be one of those times that the Seahawks ignore them to gamble on a talent who fits their “specific need”?

This meeting with Carter should go a long way toward determining that.


4 thoughts on “Will Jalen Carter be on Seattle’s board?”

  1. It’s also about the alternatives, which at #5 will be bleak. Bijan Robinson could well be the best other player available. Anyway, it may not come to this. The Colts would have to talk themselves into Levis or Richardson at #4 when either would be a reach.

    If I’m PCJS, I’m doing my due diligence on Carter so that I know whether to take him if he’s available. But the bulk of my draft prep goes into figuring out what to do given the very real possibility that Anderson and Carter have already been taken.


  2. To be fair, Tim Ruskell drafted Curry. Ruskell is not exactly in the running for best Seahawks GM ever. It didn’t take Pete Carroll long to move on.

    Ruskell’s first-round draft history:

    Chris Spencer
    Kelly Jennings
    Lawrence Jackson


    1. Yeah, that was a franchise fail on Curry — obviously not Schneider’s problem. But a warning nonetheless.

      What was stunning to me is that even after Curry admitted he was a lazy bum in Seattle, Carroll hired him.

      Just looked up Ruskell: He is now the Bears’ director of player personnel.


      1. I’m pretty sure that Ruskell hasn’t been with the Bears for some time. I think that he’s out of football now. The last sighting of him was as GM/Orlando Apollos of the short-lived Alliance of American Football (folded in 2019 after eight games).

        Whatever his drawbacks as a player, Curry must be a decent coach–he’s ILB coach in Pittsburgh and the Steelers don’t go for slouches.

        In some ways, the #5 is a bonus pick that Schneider never thought that he would have. I have my doubts about Richardson, but if he’s there at #5, I wouldn’t blame PCJS for taking him.


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