Bears plan to meet with embattled Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter as their evaluation of him continues


LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) Bears general manager Ryan Poles, head coach Matt Eberflus and a large scouting contingent traveled to the University of Georgia on Wednesday to get a firsthand look at embattled defensive lineman prospect Jalen Carter.

Poles, Eberflus and the Bears watched as the 21-year-old Carter struggled at his pro day. Carter weighed in at 323 pounds, nine pounds heavier than he was at the NFL Combine in late February, and he didn’t finish his position drills as he dealt with cramping. Those developments came as Carter’s legal troubles also played out in connection with his involvement in a fatal high-speed crash in January.

Once viewed as a top prospect in this NFL Draft class, Carter has seen his stock fall. Previously viewed as a surefire top-five pick, Carter is now projected by many to drop in the first round. The Bears hold the No. 9 overall selection following their recent blockbuster trade of the No. 1 pick to the Panthers.

So, do the Bears still have interest in potentially drafting Carter?

“We aren’t really there yet,” Poles said of the Bears’ evaluations with Carter. “Like the combine, it’s a collection of information. We got some there. We got more at the pro day. We’ll bring him in (for a pre-draft visit), talk to him and get to know him even better. At some point in mid-April, we’ll sit down, put it all on the table and see how we want to handle it.”

Carter left the NFL Combine on the day he was scheduled to hold interviews with teams after Athens (Ga.) police charged him with reckless driving and racing in connection with in a fatal crash involving a Georgia football teammate and staff member on Jan. 15.

On Thursday morning, Carter pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charges. He will receive 12 months of probation, a $1,000 fine and 80 hours of community service, and he’ll also be required to attend a state-approved defensive driving course, ESPN reported. Carter won’t be sentenced to jail time.

Carter had 18.5 sacks over three seasons at Georgia, including seven in 2022 as the Bulldogs won the national championship.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.

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