Is Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Jalen Carter the front-runner for the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year award? Three weeks into the NFL season, it appears as if he has a chance. We have heard Aaron Donald and Jerome Brown comparisons, and he hasn't even begun to scratch the surface of how good he's capable of being. Oh, and here's the best part.
He's playing less than 50 percent of the snaps on defense. Yep, we'd say this guy is going to be good for a very long time. Still not convinced? Try this on for size.
Remember those aforementioned Aaron Donald comparisons? Just let this sink in for a second.
Is there any wonder why everyone is excited about this guy? The questions are as follows: What were the Chicago Bears thinking? How good can he be? Is there some postseason hardware in his future?
Eagles star Jalen Carter has the best odds of any NFL rookie to win Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Yes, you read that correctly. Jalen Carter has the best odds of any NFL rookie to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year Trophy according to FanDuel. They currently give him odds of -110. Houston Texans linebacker Will Anderson (+650) and New England Patriots cornerback Christian Gonzalez (+750) round out the top three.
This has turned out to be a strong rookie class, particularly with all of these stars that play on the defensive side of the ball, Carter reigns supreme, and again, he's only going to get better.
Carter is already making an impact for the Eagles. He recorded a sack in his first NFL game, one versus the New England Patriots. In Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football, he forced a fumble, punching the ball out of running back Rachaad White's hands. James Bradberry snagged the loose ball.
The momentum-swinging play led to an Eagles field goal opportunity, one that allowed them to take a 13-3 lead at the end of the first half.
What makes Jalen Carter so impressive?
What makes Carter so impressive is that he's just a rotational player at this stage of his career. So far, he has been on the field for 89 snaps, roughly 48% of the defense's total.
Despite this, as mentioned earlier, he has been just as disruptive as Aaron Donald, who's often considered the best defensive tackle of our era. He has also been compared to Warren Sapp.
The Eagles defensive line was historically great last season, reeling in 70 sacks, the third-highest single-season total in NFL history. Only the 1984 Chicago Bears (72) and 1989 Minnesota Vikings (71)) had more. They were also the first team in pro football's history to have four players log ten sacks or more (Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat, Javon Hargrave, and Brandon Graham).
Carter is, in essence, Hargrave's replacement. As the season goes forward, it'll be interesting to see how Philly's young star improves. He's already a force to be reckoned with, one who can stuff the run and get to the quarterback. It wouldn't surprise anyone if he logs ten sacks or more in year one.
Carter fell to the Eagles with the ninth overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft due to off-field concerns, but he's turning things around. He's surrounded by new teammates that he's learning to trust and a handful that he shared the field with at Georgia with the Bulldogs (Nakobe Dean, Nolan Smith, Kelee Ringo, and Jordan Davis).
He's also being mentored by seasoned veterans on the defensive line like Brandon Graham and future Hall of Famer Fletcher Cox. Carter was put in a perfect situation to succeed in the NFL. Something tells us that he will.
Up next, Carter and the Eagles will host the Washington Commanders at Lincoln Financial Field at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 1st. Keep an eye on the young man in the Number 98 jersey. You're going to like what you see.