The Philadelphia Eagles arguably got the best player in the NFL Draft with the ninth overall pick, but there’s a big reason why that was the case.
Standout defensive lineman Jalen Carter’s shares fell in part due to his involvement in a high-speed crash in January that killed former Georgia teammate Devin Willock and Chandler LeCroy, a recruiting staffer.
It was revealed during the NFL Scouting Combine that Carter was the driver of a vehicle that raced the Jeep that Willock and LeCroy were in. The last vehicle crashed after traveling at speeds in excess of 100 mph, killing Willock and LeCroy.
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Carter was charged with two misdemeanor reckless driving and racing, and did not disagree. He was sentenced to 12 months probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. Carter has also been ordered to complete 80 hours of community service and will have to complete a state-approved defensive driving course.
But as his stock fell, the Eagles remained aggressive in grabbing him, and they felt they couldn’t wait any longer, so they traded from the No. 10 pick one spot higher to nab the defensive lineman.
Carter met with the Philadelphia media just after he was selected, but a reporter felt he did not «seem responsible» for his role in the deadly crash.
General manager Howie Roseman and head coach Nick Srianni disputed that assessment.
«I don’t think that’s fair. What, do you want me to talk about an active investigation right now?» Roseman responded. «I mean, at the end of the day, he just got drafted, and you ask him and you put him in the spot.»
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“I think it’s hard for Zoom to feel a person’s heart and their responsibility,” Sirianni added. «I just don’t think it’s fair how you said you didn’t feel that way.»
Of course, Carter’s role in the crash will be with him for a long time, but Roseman feels he and his organization have the right support system to eventually make Carter known only as a football player.
«Obviously, that’s part of what we’re talking about. We have to develop the people. We have to develop the player. I think for us, we take that part seriously,» Roseman said, via CBS Sports. «We think it’s important that we not only care about people as players, but that we want to care about people. We’re going to put our arms around him and do the best we can to help him and understand him, that was a tragic night. It was a night tragic, and we mourn the loss of those families, and we’re not trying to minimize that situation, but obviously we have to get to work.»
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Later in the draft, the Eagles took Georgia linebacker Nolan Smith with the 30th pick. Philadelphia also selected two defensive Bulldogs in Jordan Davis and Nakobe Dean last year.