2023 NFL Draft

Peter King Hears Rumor Steelers May Trade Up For Georgia DT Jalen Carter, Sees Pittsburgh As ‘Perfect Fit’

Peter King isn’t in the reporting nearly as much as he used to. But he passed along a whale of a juicy nugget early Monday morning. In his latest installment of Football Morning In America for Pro Football Talk, he’s linking Georgia DT Jalen Carter to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s one-part guessing, one part reporting. Or at least passing along a rumor credible enough to make the final text.

On Carter, King writes two sections on him, believing Pittsburgh is the perfect place for him to end up.

Jalen Carter has two visits to top-10 teams left before Wednesday’s deadline for players to make pre-draft visits to teams. That’s what agent Drew Rosenhaus told me Saturday. I’ll tell you the team that is the most perfect fit for Carter in the NFL: the Pittsburgh Steelers, who’d have to trade up from 17 to get him.”

Carter has been viewed as one of the 2023 NFL Draft’s top prospects since the fall. A dominant big man in the middle regarded as the best player on some great Bulldogs’ fronts, regarded as a better player than #1 overall pick Travon Walker last season, Carter racked up seven tackles for a loss and three sacks in 2022. They’re not numbers that jump off the page but with so much talent throughout, rarely did one Bulldog player dominant the stat sheet. Carter’s impact went beyond the box score with plus athleticism and ability to ragdoll and toss aside opposing offensive linemen.

His pre-draft process has been shaky. There was an arrest warrant served during the week of the Combine that alleged he was racing another vehicle that resulted in the death of Georgia players and staffers. Carter has pled no contest. His Pro Day workout was panned and Carter was unable to finish drills, cramping up and leaving early.

Despite that, King believes Carter remains a top ten pick, heavily linking the Seattle Seahawks to him at #5. But if Carter slips, especially if the top four quarterbacks all go very early, King thinks Pittsburgh may make a call.

“Best rumor of the week: Steelers trading up from 17 to nine if Carter’s there. There could not be a more perfect coach for Carter than Mike Tomlin.

King doesn’t offer a citation for the rumor, if it’s something he’s heard or if he’s passing along. There was an uncorroborated report of Pittsburgh having talks with the Chicago Bears, who hold the ninth pick, last week, though the wording was couched in wishy-washy language. Perhaps it’s true but at face value, it’s hard to take credibly.

Conventional wisdom suggests if Pittsburgh trades up, it’ll be for an offensive tackle, either Ohio State’s Paris Johnson or Georgia’s Broderick Jones. But Carter is a name who can’t be ignored. The Steelers could use a gamechanger in the middle though whoever takes Carter will be taking on a risk. Generally, Pittsburgh has been among the more risk-adverse teams in the first round, though Omar Khan’s first draft as GM makes the Steelers’ strategy less predictable than the past 15 years. Of course, with the draft ten days away, rumor season is in full swing, and any report should be taken with many grains of salt.

To Top