Georgia DL Jalen Carter’s “character issues” ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft are disproportionate, says an analyst

Georgia’s star defenseman Jalen Carter is expected to be one of the top picks in the upcoming NFL draft. His name has been a trending topic lately after NFL analyst Todd McShay cited “character issues” as a problem for scouts. 247Sports analyst Josh Pate contested the notion, stating that Carter should be held by a football standard rather than an accountant.

“I think you probably have a gross misconception about what character issues actually are,” Pate said of those who questioned Carter’s character. “Your character is on an NFL (general manager) green tick. When normal people talk about character, they are talking about it in the normal world. Football isn’t the normal world, boys. Dressing rooms is not a normal world and the pitch is not a normal world, it takes different people to play this game so most of us can’t do it. And that’s why we pay a lot of money to see the guys who can, or you watch TV and you’re amazed at the guys who can.

“You don’t have a normal mentality to play this game, so everyone’s talking about character, and if you see a guy who doesn’t carry himself exactly like the 9-to-5 account at the local company does, ‘ oh oh, hmm, maybe a little rough around the edges, should it be better. He’d better be, or he’s risking his life on this football field playing at least at Jalen Carter’s level. Here’s the other part of it, nobody ever talks about being competitive.”

One of the nation’s most feared interior pass rushers, Carter has been a force for the Bulldogs this season and is taking part in this month’s College Football Playoff game against Ohio State with a chance to move up to No. 1 Travon Walker done last fall.

“I line up next to Jalen Carter and he’s scolding someone in warm-ups, I don’t care, you can put a big X on their forehead,” Pate said. “I can promise you nothing about him will stop his ability to dominate at the next level. You might see him skipping class and you’re like, ‘Oh, oh, red flag’ – it’s a red flag if he’s trying to get a law degree, this guy is trying to get a football degree .”

McShay’s original comments came on ESPN and described his suitability for the Seahawks and Pete Carroll’s tendency to view players of “questionable character.”

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“Carter has some character issues. Does he get along with everyone? What does he like to do in the dressing room? That kind of problems.” McShay said this week. “I know it’s early in the process, but I’m warning everyone out there. Carter is going to be a hot name when we talk about some of the intangibles. I think Peter Caroll (and the Seattle Seahawks) at #2, which has a long history of taking guys of questionable character, then developing them and letting them train, that would make a lot of sense to me.

“That will be the big discussion. It’s not about his talent or his size or his explosive start or finish as a pass rusher, it’s about the character and we want to bring that guy in the building.”

Brad Crawford contributed to this report.