The Bears Are Planning to Bring Jalen Carter in for a Top 30 Visit
Jalen Carter went from a candidate to go first overall to someone whose draft status is unknown.
I imagine clarity will come over the 42 days that will pass between now and draft day. Indeed, some of that clarity will come as Carter meets NFL teams around the league. The pre-draft ramp-up process should give Carter an opportunity to reach out to the league’s 32 teams and explain what is happening with him off the field, what went down at his pro day, and if he is the guy he was at Georgia.
One of the teams confirming a future meeting with Carter is the Chicago Bears, as GM Ryan Poles informed the media at his Thursday press conference that he would use a top-30 visit to chop it up with the University of Georgia standout:
The timing of this news from Poles is noteworthy. Particularly as it comes just hours after Carter entered a plea deal that sentences him to probation (but allows him to avoid jail time) in the wake of his recent off-the-field situation. It also comes less than 24 hours after Carter put up a stinker of a pro day at Georgia. Whether this the Bears doing their due diligence or something more, it is heady to get as much background on Carter as possible. And if it means using a top 30 visit to bring him to Halas Hall for a private chat, then so be it. Clearly, Carter has plenty of questions to answer before the Bears (or any team for that matter) use a draft pick on him.
To that end, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport opens a door the possibility of Carter — once seen as a potential first-pick option — could fall to the Bears at No. 9:
“I know had the Bears stayed at No. 1, Jalen Carter probably would’ve been in the mix. Ryan Poles planned to spend some time with him at Georgia pro day. That was the initial thought going in at least when they had the No. 1 pick. Now that they have No. 9, it is actually strangely a possibility that he could slip there based on the off-the-field situation he has been dealing with.”
Carter’s stock is plummeting after the off-the-field situation and the pro day struggles. But they might not be sinking for long. Now that Carter reached a resolution in his case, he could rebuild his draft stock between now and when teams go on the clock on April 27. But as Rap Sheet said in the video above, Carter has a lot to answer to and will have to do it to an extent where GMs can trust taking him with a top pick. This isn’t something that can (or will) happen overnight. But this is a situation worth monitoring. Stay tuned.