Jalen Carter is Not Dropping to the Pittsburgh Steelers at 17

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The top defensive lineman prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft and former Georgia Bulldog, Jalen Carter, was charged with reckless driving and racing in conjunction with the crash that killed Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock and a recruiting staff member.  He was arrested, booked, and then released, so he was able to complete his NFL Combine events, after paying a $4000 bond.  Reportedly the charges were both misdemeanors.

I want to be clear that these charges against Carter are just alleged at this time.  However, even just the alleged charges against Carter have seen the once potential top pick of the draft fall down draft boards all over the internet.  

Chris Trapasso, a draft analyst from CBS Sports, actually has the elite D-lineman falling to the Steelers at No. 17 in his latest mock draft.  This caused quite the stir among Steeler fans on social media yesterday, as fans hope to get the top defender even with the recent news of his arrest.  

To this I ask, have we learned nothing?  Have we not seen countless times where if a player is talented enough that any alleged, or even committed, crimes do not matter?  Whether he is proven guilty of these crimes is currently up in the air, but what's not up in the air is that Carter is one of the most talented defensive player in this season's draft.  Potentially the most talented.  So do we really think two misdemeanor charges will not stop any teams from taking him? 

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN's lead NFL draft analyst, had Jalen Carter going No. 1 overall to the Chicago Bears in his first mock draft.  In his most recent one, he has the Bears trading back twice to No.4 and still getting Carter there.  Not even close to No. 17.  Now, this second mock draft came before the news broke about Carter being charged, but still.  Time after time we have seen that talented players are above the law.  Occasionally we'll see a suspension handed out, but otherwise they typically skate by after that.  

Also, is this really the type of guy we want in the organization anyway?  Wasn't it nice to have a season where the talk was all about the on the field and not off of it?  For a few seasons we had headaches like Martavis Bryant and Antonio Brown.  And I'm sure we all remember losing Ben Roethlisberger for four games because of his alleged crimes.  Even if these charges just quietly go away, it will still be a season or two of the chatter around the time.  Wouldn't we much rather just continue complaining about Matt Canada as an offensive coordinator?

But ultimately, I don't believe the Steelers will have the choice anyway.  Unless Carter is charged with something felonious, or is actually imprisoned, I don't see these misdemeanor charges affecting his draft stock to the extent that he falls to No. 17.  We've learned that the NFL cares about winning.  Period.  End of discussion.