2. The Help
You can have all the talent in the world, but being a productive defensive lineman requires some help. Just look at what happened to Myles Garrett in Cleveland last year. He is maybe the NFL’s best pass rusher (PFF thought he was), but he was also double-teamed at the league’s highest rate and didn’t even finish top three in the Defensive Player of the Year race.
Well, Jalen Carter has the help.
Carter has elite edge rushing talent beside him. With Haason Reddick coming off one edge and a mix of Josh Sweat and Brandon Graham coming off the other, quarterbacks don’t have much time or space to escape once they’re under pressure. And with Jordan Davis, Fletcher Cox or Milton Williams rushing alongside Carter on the interior, it’s not like offensive lines can afford to double-team Carter.
It’s a real “pick your poison” situation for opposing offenses. For as good as Carter is, he’s not someone they can afford to go all-out trying to stop because there’s simply too much talent elsewhere.
That means Carter will regularly be getting straight-up one-on-one pass-rush situations, and we’ve already seen how that goes:
This means Carter will have the opportunity to rack up the impressive stats you need to get the national consideration for an award. He’s not going to fall victim to the “contributes in ways that don’t show up on the stat sheet so doesn’t get the credit he deserves” trap we can often see for interior defensive linemen.
Instead, Carter will get to post edge rusher-type numbers, the kind that makes hardcore analysts, casual fans and award voters alike all take notice of just how incredibly good he is.