Eagles draft Georgia's Carter, who had role in fatal crash

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles selected Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter with the No. 9 overall pick of the NFL draft on Thursday night, trading up one spot with the Chicago Bears to get a player who may have still been available because of his role in a fatal car crash.

Carter was once projected to be the No. 1 overall selection before the Bears traded that pick to the quarterback-needy Carolina Panthers. There were questions about how far the standout defensive lineman would slip because of his involvement in a crash that killed a teammate, offensive lineman Devin Willock, and a Georgia recruiting staffer, Chandler LeCroy.

Carter was given one year of probation and fined $1,000 last month after pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing related to the wreck.

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“They're just getting the best person in the draft,” Carter said.

Carter was considered the best interior defensive lineman in this year's class, but the crash and its aftermath may have played a role in his drop to the NFC champion Eagles.

The Eagles were busy on draft night and surrendered the No. 10 pick to take Carter. They may have gotten a steal if he has no further off-the-field issues. He could end up like Warren Sapp and Randy Moss, who became stars after their draft position slipped.

The Eagles have four picks in the top 70, including another first-round pick at No. 30. Philadelphia acquired its earlier first-round pick in a deal with New Orleans last season. The Eagles also hold picks in the second round (No. 62) and third round (66). Philadelphia has just two other picks, both in the seventh round.

The Eagles moved up in the third round on draft night courtesy of a settlement with Arizona after the Cardinals made impermissible contact during their head coaching search this past January. The Cardinals self-reported to the NFL that general manager Monti Ossenfort had a phone conversation with former Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon in the days following the NFC Championship game, a period which contact is not permitted under the NFL’s tampering policy.

To resolve the matter, the Cardinals and Eagles agreed to swap third-round picks and Arizona received Philadelphia’s fifth-round selection in 2024.


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Dan Gelston, The Associated Press