Seahawks Draft: Georgia host says Jalen Carter could be next Cortez Kennedy

Feb 9, 2023, 10:25 AM

Seahawks Jalen Carter...

Jalen Carter of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates with a newspaper reading "Perfect!" after defeating the TCU Horned Frogs in the College Football Playoff National Championship game on January 09, 2023. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Georgia is the cream of the crop in the college football world as the Bulldogs are coming off back-to-back National Championships, and they figure to have a number of prospects drafted come April. And their top prospect is someone Seahawks fans are really hoping makes it to the No. 5 pick.

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That would be star defensive tackle Jalen Carter, a 2022 unanimous All-American who was a key part of Georgia’s two titles. He had six sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss over the last two seasons across 27 games

So what do we need to know about Carter? And who are some other Georgia draft prospects the Seahawks should keep an eye on? Georgia pre- and postgame host Jeff Dantzler joined Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Wyman and Bob on Wednesday to break it down.

“He definitely has a chance to go No. 1 overall and very high. I think he’ll be the first non-quarterback taken,” Dantzler said of Carter.

So what kind of person is Carter? Dantzler said that even in a college town like Athens where “there are whispers out there” about everything, he didn’t hear anything bad about Carter.

“Great stuff. I mean, he took his NIL money and did a fundraiser … for his hometown back in Florida,” Dantzler said. “I just have never heard one bad thing. He’s an extremely hard worker.”

Carter especially stood out this year as three members of the 2021 Bulldogs’ defensive line were drafted in the first round last year, so Carter was the only returning starter in 2022. Even with all that attention on him, Carter shined and made an impact, even after getting hurt on a “dirty play” against Missouri.

“It would have been easy for him to sit and say, ‘Hey guys, I’m just getting ready for the draft.’ If he doesn’t play another down, he’s at worse the No. 5 overall pick,” Carter said. “But he comes back and was absolutely dominant.”

Carter has also shown a knack for coming up big in key games, Dantzler said, such as a blocked field goal in the 2021 title game, a key sack against Tennessee this year and forcing an interception in this year’s National Championship.

“He comes up big in the biggest of games,” Dantzler said. “And I just think about Pete Carroll and those great defenses he had at the Super Bowl years and I know if somehow he was sitting there (at No. 5), they’d love to snap him up.”

Carter is 6 foot 3 and 310 pounds and is a great athlete who has all the tools to shine in the NFL, Dantzler said.

“He’s got complete power. He plays with those hips open and his upper body strength is incredible,” he said. “He can twist to get between blocks, he can overpower … He really has a chance to be a dominating Pro Bowl-caliber 10-year-type inside player.”

Dantzler said Carter could be as good as one of the greatest players in Seahawks history.

“The greatest defensive lineman in Seahawks history is Cortez Kennedy. Could he be a player that good? Well, (Kennedy is) an all-timer and a Hall of Famer. It wouldn’t stun me if (Carter) got to that kind of level, he is that good … He’s got that type of talent.”

Carter isn’t the only front-seven defender who will go early in this year’s draft as the Bulldogs also have an outside linebacker named Nolan Smith who may be a first-round pick, Dantzler said.

Smith had three sacks in eight games before suffering a season-ending pectoral injury.

“He’s an A-plus kid, was an incredible player, All-American caliber,” Dantzler said. “He was going to be a first-team All-American.”

In addition to being a great player on the field, Dantzler said Smith essentially became an assistant coach once his season was over due to the injury.

The Seahawks could draft Smith 20th overall or even potentially with their first second-round pick.

And if the Seahawks are looking to draft a cornerback early, Dantzler said to keep an eye on is Kelee Ringo, a 6-foot-2 corner who actually was born in Tacoma.

“He’s probably a first-rounder,” Dantzler said. “Big-play guy. He had the game-sealing pick-six to beat Alabama in the national title game a year ago.”

Listen to the full interview with Dantzler at this link or in the player below.

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