Should the Bears Have Drafted Jalen Carter?

Kevin Fishbain at The Athletic answers your questions:

“Is it fair to call the draft decision to take Darnell Wright over Jalen Carter a bad one? — J S.

“A popular question this week, and one that will linger throughout the season, and possibly the next few for the No. 9 and 10 picks of the 2023 draft.”

“As each Bears game ends in misery, fans are seeing highlights of Carter dominating opposing O-linemen. The same can’t be said about Wright’s pass blocking.

“There are two challenges with answering this question. One, it’s way too early in their careers. Two, I’m still of the belief the Bears were never going to draft Carter. Their trade solidified that. That makes it a difficult hypothetical for me to consider.

“Carter gets to start alongside Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis, Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat. That veteran locker room was the perfect one for Carter, and he doesn’t have to be “the guy” up front for the Eagles. I don’t think he would’ve been having similar success in Chicago with this team.

“It may go down as a bad decision three, five, seven years from now, but it was likely never going to happen anyway.:”

I think we all strongly suspected that Carter was going to be a hit for the Eagles. Like Fishbain, I have my doubts about whether he would have been the same for the Bears. But my reason is different from the one that he is willing to state in print.

Carter was street racing in Georgia when the teammate that he was racing crashed. That’s bad but what followed is probably what made Bears GM Ryan Poles‘ hair stand on end. Carter went to the NFL combine but left after an arrest warrant was issued. He showed up to Georgia’s pro day in mid-March nine pounds heavier than he was at the combine and did not finish position drills due to apparent cramping and breathing issues.

It’s one thing to make a bad mistake off the field. Its another thing altogether to allow it to affect your performance on the field with your future on the line.

As Fishbain points out, Carter is now surrounded by veteran talent. But I think that this was a good move for the Eagle more because of the pressure those veterans can bring and the example that they set than the talent that they surround him with. With those kinds of surroundings, Carter could be set on the path of long-term success. Its unlikely that we could say the same thing about the current Bears team.

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