You’re not supposed to go to the Super Bowl and then pick top 10 in the first round of the following NFL Draft. You’re definitely not supposed to go to the Super Bowl and then land a prospect that spent much of the offseason as the No. 1 ranked prospect on many experts’ big boards.
But apparently nobody told this to the Philadelphia Eagles, so they went ahead and landed standout Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter with the ninth overall pick.
Carter is already one of the projected frontrunners in the Defensive Rookie of the Year race, and I’m here to tell you he should straight up be the favorite already.
Jalen Carter Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds
Even a top prospect can sometimes take some time to adapt to the NFL game, so you don’t want to get too excited purely based on potential and reputation. But training camp is underway now, and by all accounts Carter is already an absolute terror who looks pro-ready from the jump. He’s receiving some massive praise, including that he’s already the steal of the draft.
Obviously Eagles sources are going to be biased to say good things about Carter, but there’s not a lot of incentive to drop a comment like this out of the blue. This is the kind of thing you say because you really believe it.
Now what about his competition? Will Anderson is obviously full of top-end potential too, and there’s a reason he went ahead of Carter on draft day. But even if Anderson is just as good as Carter from Day 1, I’m not sold on his ability to win Rookie of the Year — and it’s not entirely his fault.
Anderson’s playing on one of the worst teams in football, and he’s being asked to turn around an absolutely terrible pass rush that just lost one of its only two rushers to record at least 5.0 sacks last season.
So Anderson’s not going to get a lot of favorable protections in front of him. Jerry Hughes isn’t a guy that commands a ton of double teams and slide protections. If Anderson is showing flashes of greatness then there’s nobody to support Anderson and punish opposing offenses for focusing their protections entirely on the rookie.
And with the Texans likely to be playing from behind in most games, they’re not going to force opposing offenses into the kinds of situations that favor pass rushers — the obvious passing downs with long yardage needed that forces a QB to sit and wait for routes to develop.
Carter, of course, gets the benefit of both of those situations. Playing on a winning team is going to put him in the national spotlight if he plays well, and also means he’ll get no shortage of favorable game scripts to rack up sacks against offenses trying to come from behind. And this talented defense will keep the pressure off him, too.
For my money, it’s a bit of a two-man race, and it’s crazy to me that Carter is available with so much higher odds than Anderson. I’m absolutely taking advantage with a bet on the Eagles rookie.
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