Why isn’t top draft prospect Jalen Carter working out at NFL Combine?


Jalen Carter, Georgia Bulldogs. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Jalen Carter, Georgia Bulldogs. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Georgia top draft prospect Jalen Carter is sitting out of this year’s NFL combine in a bold decision that could drop his stock.

Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jalen Carter is one of the most highly touted players in this year’s NFL Draft and he knows it. Carter is reportedly choosing not to participate in the workout portion of this week’s NFL Combine, instead turning his attention to the Bulldogs’ Pro Day on March 15.

Carter’s agent told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Carter will still conduct interviews with teams and will undergo a physical, he just won’t be doing any on-field work.

Is this a case of a draft prospect getting too cocky? NFL pundits across the board have ranked Carter as a top-five pick, and it’s possible Carter sees himself as a cut above the rest.

Carter does, after all, descend from a talented lineage of defensive linemen trained by Bulldogs’ D-line coach Tray Scott.

Just a year ago, Scott molded Travon Walker, Jordan Davis, and Devonte Wyatt into top draft picks, each one stealing the show at the NFL Combine. By taking himself out of the combine, Carter risks hurting his draft stock, yet one could argue that Carter is just that good.

Georgia Bulldogs’ Jalen Carter rests on his laurels ahead of NFL Combine

The Bulldogs defensive star may not have much left to prove after his remarkable 2022 unanimous All-American season in which he racked up 31 quarterback hurries, tied for a team-high despite dealing with injuries throughout the season.

With Carter anchoring the defensive line, Georgia allowed the fewest rushing yards in the past two seasons and won consecutive national titles.

Consensus has Carter locked in as a top-five pick, and him choosing to participate in Georgia’s Pro Day rather than the combine doesn’t affect his desirability very much. Neither do his controversial “character issues.” Everybody still wants him.

From a player perspective, Carter also avoids the possibility of injury in the NFL Combine, which would have definitely tanked his draft stock. Carter’s direct competition is Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson and Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson, two projected first-round defensive picks.

The difference is that a blue-chip prospect and certifiable game-wrecker Carter can afford to put his feet up during the NFL Combine — the other guys need all the help they can get.