Arizona Cardinals should still consider drafting Jalen Carter in Round 1

2023 CFP National Championship - TCU v Georgia
2023 CFP National Championship - TCU v Georgia / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

The Arizona Cardinals could be making a huge mistake if they decide to take a pass on the All-American defensive tackle.

Two weeks from now, the Arizona Cardinals will finally reveal their plan for the NFL Draft's third-overall selection. Many experts believe that general manager Monti Ossenfort will be looking to trade down with a quarterback-needy squad. If that occurs, the Cards could be waving goodbye to the one and only blue-chip prospect in this year's class.

Actually, that may not be entirely true. University of Alabama product Will Anderson is phenomenal, but there just so happens to be another youngster who ranks right up there in star-potential with the sensational edge-rusher.

A couple of months ago, University of Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter was being referred to by some as the best player in the 2023 draft. In fact, many Cardinals fans believed that the 6 foot 3, 314 pounder, not Anderson, should be Ossenfort's top selection. With all of that going for him, things suddenly and unexpectedly began to spiral downward for the 22-year-old Carter.

Just hours before the start of the NFL's Scouting Combine last month, an arrest warrant was issued for the highly-touted Carter. Back in January, the youngster was involved in a street-racing incident that took the lives of two people. Carter was charged with reckless driving and street racing, and is slated to appear in Georgia's Athens-Clarke Municipal Court on April 18th.

Carter hurt his draft-stock further a couple of weeks later when he turned in a less-than-inspiring performance at Georgia's pro day. The Florida native didn't help himself any by refusing to participate in the 40-yard dash, cone drills and other physical tests. Carter did agree to take part in position drills, but failed to finish them because he was cramping up and breathing heavily.

Arizona Cardinals would be going with talent over character if they draft Jalen Carter later this month

While the character flaws are definitely a concern, Arizona may ultimately have difficulty passing on Carter's incredible talent and impressive resume. At the moment, the team's defensive line is arguably the worst in professional football. The addition of a generational talent like Carter would undoubtedly do wonders for the talent-starved front wall of the Redbirds defense.

There's a very good chance that the Cards could agree to a trade that will require the club to move down anywhere from 1-8 spots in Round 1. If such a deal comes to fruition, Carter would have to be considered a value pick if he was still available at any of those slots. Exiting the draft's opening night with additional draft capital and a generational talent like Carter to boot would be an outstanding way for Ossenfort to begin his tenure in the desert.

Over the past couple of years, a series of off-the-field transgressions has cast the Cardinals in an embarrassing light. The alleged charges against owner Michael Bidwill are just the latest egg on the face of the floundering franchise. Management would certainly be taking a risk by adding a controversial figure like Carter to such an unstable situation.

It would be difficult for any NFL franchise to simply remove the dynamic defender from their draft board. Impact prospects like the Florida native don't come along very often. Arizona has to find a way to ignore the red flags, and reinforce the league's most horrendous defensive line with a dominating force like Carter.

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