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What We Are Hearing: Why Didn't the Falcons Draft Georgia Bulldogs DL Jalen Carter?

May 3, 2023

ATHENS - Ever wonder why the Atlanta Falcons seemingly hardly ever draft Georgia Bulldogs players in the NFL Draft?

In the case of high-level prospect Jalen Carter there were a few things that kept the franchise away from that selection. As you may recall, Carter would only met with franchises in the top ten of the NFL Draft. The Falcons had the No. 8 overall selection in the draft, and Carter was there. 

But the Falcons were never going to take Carter, as Dean Legge said on the Porch before Atlanta selected Texas RB Bijan Robinson. 

The franchise was concerned with two things primarily: 

1. That Carter was a practice wrecker, so to speak. That either he practiced so poorly that he wasn’t dependable in those situations, or that when he turned it on Carter was unblockable - wrecking practice that way. 

2. The Falcons were concerned about Carter being as close as the franchise is to Athens, and if that would effect him moving forward as a professional athlete. 

NFL insiders were not surprised to see the Eagles, flush with several UGA players, jump up into the top ten to grab Carter, who many consider the overall best player in the draft. 

He’s a generational talent,” Kirby Smart told reporters at the school’s Pro Day in March as Carter was handling his legal problems, and struggling through a workout. That day - specifcially that workout - was the nail in the coffin for the Falcons as it related to Carter.

With Jalen Carter on the roster, the Philadelphia Eagles now have +850 odds to win the Super Bowl next February according to FanDuel.

Kirby Smart’s Georgia Bulldogs Program Gets Big Praise

Meanwhile, if you listened to the NFL Draft over the weekend, you heard a lot of praise for Kirby and company for what they’ve done over the last seven years in Athens. 

"That's unbelievable work by Kirby Smart and that staff down there to get these guys and develop them to the point were they have real, significant value for themselves,” ESPN’s Louis Riddick said over the weekend. “That’s unbelievable. You just have to tip your cap to what's going on at that program.”

The Bulldogs had 25 players selected in the NFL Draft over the last two years - a record for the event. 

Georgia Bulldogs Hit the Recruiting Trail

On the recruiting trail, Kirby and the Dawgs were out on the road last week checking on some top targets and commitments. They will be hitting the recruiting trail hard for most of May. Dawg Post confirmed that two assistant coaches were in South Georgia early Monday morning at Colquitt County to check on 4-star WR commit Ny Carr‍ and 5-star TE target Landen Thomas‍.

And before you ask, the answer is yes. Thomas, who flipped from Georgia to FSU earlier this spring, is still a major target for Todd Hartley in the 2024 class. The Packers held their first spring practice Monday morning and both assistant coaches were there to watch.

In other news, Dawg Post confirmed that Mike Bobo was in Connecticut last week to check on 4-star QB commit Ryan Puglisi‍, and sources say he will be back up to see Puglisi again on May 18th.

Of course, we reported on Monday that Bobo was in Arizona to check on 5-star QB target Dylan Raiola‍, and multiple sources believe the elite signal-caller could be “very close” to committing to Georgia. While he don’t know of an exact commitment date at this time, we believe Raiola has a good chance of being on the commit list before he takes his official visit to Georgia the weekend of June 2nd.

Bulldog defensive backs coach Fran Brown saw safety commitment Jaylen Heyward and cornerback commitment Demello Jones‍ last week. Sources tell Dawg Post that receivers coach Bryan McClendon and Mike Bobo plan to be at the Cass-Milton scrimmage next Friday, May 12th.

In addition, McClendon stopped by Parkview Wednesday to check on five-star WR Mike Matthews‍. 2026 Parkview DB Hicks also holds a Georgia.

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