Seahawks Draft: DT class is ‘very bleak’ after Georgia’s Jalen Carter

Mar 10, 2023, 9:08 AM | Updated: 9:08 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)

Interior defensive line is a big need for the Seahawks this offseason after finishing 2022 with the third-worst run defense in the NFL. It may be hard to find impact help at that position early in the draft, according to former NFL quarterback Brock Huard.

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The consensus top defensive tackle is Georgia’s Jalen Carter, an All-American who won two national championships for the Bulldogs. He’s a player who has been commonly linked to the Seahawks with the No. 5 overall pick, and he’s seen as one of the two or three best defenders in this year’s draft class.

But after Carter, how does the defensive tackle class look in this year’s draft?

“Very bleak. Very bleak,” Huard said during Wednesday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports. “And Jalen Carter is going to have a lot of question marks himself.”

Carter may be a force on the field and a very intriguing player, but he has some question marks off the field.

Earlier in the offseason, ESPN draft expert Todd McShay said Carter had some character issues that may concern teams. Just before the NFL Scouting Combine, a warrant was issued for Carter’s arrest stemming from his alleged involvement in a drag racing issue that resulted in the death of a teammate and Georgia staffer. He returned to Georgia due to the warrant and then went back to the combine, where he didn’t work out or talk to the media.

Huard said there’s been questions out there regarding Carter’s “professional maturity.”

After Carter, two other defensive tackles are seen as potential early picks, but both come with question marks of their own, but on the field.

“After him, there’s a D-tackle out of Clemson, Bryan Bresee, that every time I’ve watched I’ve never said, ‘Oh yeah, that guy lights up the screen, that guy’s a game-wrecker. that guy’s a difference-maker,'” Huard said.

Bresee was the No. 1 recruit coming out of high school but never lived up to that hype at Clemson. Huard noted that Bresee dealt with adversity off the field as he lost his sister to cancer.

“Tons of grit, tons of maturity,” he said of Bresee.

But Huard would have a hard time with the Seahawks taking a defensive tackle early who didn’t “wreck a game” at the college level.

“Find those guys (in later rounds), develop them, what’s the difference?” he saud. “But if you can’t wreck and take over a game at the collegiate level against collegiate offensive lines, you’re not going to do it against typically grown men in the NFL.”

The other defensive tackle Huard brought up is Pittsburgh’s Calijah Kancey, who had a big showing at the NFL Scouting Combine and who is “a unique kid.”

“Just super explosive. I mean, 4.6, 4.7 (40-yard dash at) 280 pounds?” Huard said of the 6 foot 1 Kancey.

Kancey’s size, explosiveness and alma mater of Pittsburgh make Aaron Donald an easy comparison, but Kancey has just 30 5/8-inch arms, which Huard said is a concern.

“He’s definitely got short arms and he’s definitely going to be velcro and sticky (to offensive linemen) because he’s not Aaron Donald, but he played at the same school, he put up prolific numbers he wrecks games when put in the right spot,” he said.

Rather than comparing Kancey to Donald, Huard compared him to a Seahawks defensive tackle who’s about to hit free agency.

“He’s kind of a hyper-athletic Poona (Ford),” he said.

Ford is 5-11 and 310 pounds and just finished his fifth season with the Seahawks and his fourth as a starter.

But there are questions of whether Ford fits Seattle’s new defensive scheme. If that’s the case, Kancey a scheme fit for the Seahawks?

“No. That’s where it’s problematic,” Huard said. “That’s where this draft, I just don’t see even guys that you can kind of go, ‘Well, if we shape them, we mold them, we develop them.’ No, not in the first round. Certainly not at five and 20. I just don’t see that kind of difference-maker, that kind of game-wrecker.”

Listen to the full second hour of Wednesday’s Brock and Salk at this link or in the player below.

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