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Jalen Carter making rookie mistakes before the 2023 NFL Draft even begins

Georgia is projected to be a Top-10 pick in this month's draft. Specifically, he'll likely go to the with the ninth pick. At worst, he'll likely go to the Eagles at the 10th pick.

His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, is so sure that Carter will be picked somewhere in the first 10 that his client isn't visiting any of the other teams drafting afterward.

It's a bold decision, but there is some risk attached.

Carter comes into the draft as a big part of a back-to-back championship run with the Bulldogs.

He certainly has the potential to be a force on any team's . But he brings along some baggage that might give every team pause, no matter where they're drafting.

Back in January, not long after Georgia dismantled TCU in the title game, his teammate Devin Willock and recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy died in a high-speed car crash. While Carter was found not to have caused the accident, he did plead no contest to misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing in relation to the accident.

LeCroy was driving the SUV that crashed at a speed of 104 MPH. Carter was driving a separate SUV at the time.

He was sentenced to 12 months of probation, a $1,000 fine, and 80 hours of community service.

No additional charges will be brought against Carter, but there could be civil litigation in his future. And the events of that evening could be of concern to any team looking at drafting him.

Pro Day and Combine Issues Didn't Help

At Carter's at Georgia he weighed in at 323 pounds, nearly 10 pounds heavier than he was at the combine in Indianapolis.

He opted to do only position drills at the combine and he didn't finish those.

Carter skipped the 40-yard dash, cone drills, and some of the other tests as well. That added to the red flags.

Some of the recent have kept Carter in the top 10 — 's Mel Kiper has him going sixth to the Lions. Most have him falling to the Bears (9) or the Eagles (10).

But none of these are run by the owners who will be shelling out millions of their dollars to whoever they draft.

His issues on and off the field might drive his draft stock down and out of the top 10. And that's where his refusal to meet with the other 22 teams could come back to haunt him.

Going down

If Carter isn't taken by the 10th pick there's no telling how far he could slide.

In 2010, was said to be a sure-top-10 pick. There was even talk of him going with the first pick.

Then the red flags started popping up. He tumbled all the way down to 24th when the Cowboys took him.

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Could Carter follow suit?

Possibly. And if he continues to blow off the other teams he could potentially fall all the way out of the .

How many of the teams from 11-32 are going to look at the red flags, remember he refused to even visit them to hear them out and choose accordingly?

Again, the first-rounder gets the lion's share of the contract money. teams are going to want to be sure they are making the right pick.

Could Carter's loss be the Cowboys gain?

Enter Dallas, sitting at 26. Let's say Carter is still sitting backstage wondering if he's going to have to come back the next day.

Do the Cowboys, without the benefit of a visit, and with the franchise's of players getting into trouble, roll the dice?

To be honest, if is gone (which he likely will be before the 26th pick), I think they will. It will be a win for Dallas but a $7 million loss for Carter, the difference between what the 11th pick of last year's draft made and what the 26th player made.

It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. Especially if the first 10 picks are on the board and Carter's name isn't one of them.

Richard Paolinelli
Richard Paolinelli
Richard has covered sports at all levels - from local, prep, college, and professional - since 1984. He has been a fan of the Dallas Cowboys since 1969. Since retiring as a full-time sports writer in 2013, he has written and published several novels, two dozen short stories and two sports non-fiction books.

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