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August 21, 2023

Jalen Carter draws high praise from Eagles teammates

Jalen Carter hasn't begun his NFL career in earnest yet, but that hasn't stopped his Eagles teammates from shouting his game.

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8.6.23_EaglesPractice_Jalen-Carter-0699.jpg Colleen Claggett/for PhillyVoice

I promised myself I would tap the breaks on hyping up a rookie defensive tackle, but Jalen Carter might be really good.

From 1-on-1 battles in the training camp heat to his preseason debut that sent Eagles fans into a frenzy in the preseason, Jalen Carter is winning over Philadelphia and his Eagles teammates, too. 

"I think Jalen Carter is going to make a lot of noise this year," All-Pro Lane Johnson said after Saturday's practice when asked about which member of the team have impressed him this summer. "I really do. I think he can play right now and play at a really high level right now, so I'm confident in him."

Carter, the ninth-overall pick in this past April's draft, is getting a ton of practice reps amidst a crowded interior defensive line group that includes Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis and Milton Williams. The August prognosis is that Carter is in line for a starting role, as much as one could be a "starter" for a position that will likely be heavily rotated. He'll likely play starter-level snaps, getting more time than Davis and Williams as a true three-down DT already at this point in his development.

"He's the guy if you're playing high, he'll get the best of you. He plays very low. He's very strong and he's very quick, lateral quickness. He's made a lot of people look silly in camp so far," Johnson continued on about Carter. "I've been very impressed with him from Day 1. I think he has tremendous talent, tremendous ability and he plays hard every down."

How about a comparison for the former Georgia Bulldog pegged as the next great defensive tackle in the NFL?

"He's kind of similar to [Javon] Hargrave," Johnson said. "His pass rush ability. I'm trying to think of somebody inside. He's bigger than a Geno Atkins, but pretty twitchy, man. He's 6'3", 320, he's like a bigger Geno, I would say, but, yeah, man, he's impressive. He's impressed me."

The Eagles' other starting offensive tackle has been taking note of Carter in camp, too.

"What's a good comparison?" Jordan Mailata wondered out loud when asked about Carter's summer performance after Sunday's practice. 

Johnson's comp of Geno Atkins was mentioned.

"Geno Atkins? That's not bad. I think he's a little faster just because JC, look at him! Turn around and look at the guy! He's right there!" Mailata told PhillyVoice as reporters swarmed Carter along the sideline of the NovaCare Complex in a post-practice scrum. 

"His change of direction is instinctive. You give him just an inch and he will take it."

Ravens guard Ben Cleveland learned that the hard way last Saturday:

Carter's club move is going to be giving offenses fits for years to come. 

Take it from an Eagle who's gone up against Carter in practice: Dallas Goedert.

"I had to block him twice today and it wasn't easy. I don't even know if you could consider it blocking," Goedert said after Saturday's practice. "He's a special player. He's a special talent."

So what did those two "blocks" actually look like?

"Man, I held on for like a half a second and I was out of there. I was like, 'I don't know they do it, man.' He's a problem. I'm excited he's on my team though."

Offensive linemen across the NFC East, however, won't be that fortunate.

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