If you’re tired of the names “Will Anderson” and “Jalen Carter” being thrown around the Bears stratosphere over the last few weeks, I suggest you buckle up. It’s going to be a long offseason for you.
With the Bears in possession of the No. 1 overall pick, they currently have the ability to choose whomever they want with their first selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. Whether or not they trade out of that top spot remains to be seen, but the vast majority seems to believe that, if Chicago stays put, one of Anderson or Carter will be the team’s first-round selection.
Some have begun to sour on Carter, who had just one tackle in the Peach Bowl against Ohio State and failed to put up much in the way of significant production. Despite playing a career-high number of sacks, he didn’t put up impressive numbers and looked tired on a majority of his reps.
However, the accomplishments he has had at the collegiate level and the athletic tools he possesses speak for themselves. He had a bad game in the CFP semifinal, sure, but games like that have been a rarity for the 2022 unanimous All-American.
I recently broke down Anderson’s analytical profile here at WCG, and the results ended up being positive in the vast majority. Even with a decrease in production in 2022, he was still one of the most efficient edge rushers in the nation.
That begs the question: where does Carter stand analytically?
Just by looking at a normal stat sheet, one may be concerned by what they see in Carter’s production. In his three seasons at Georgia, he tallied a total of just 6 sacks and 18.5 tackles for a loss. There wasn’t a single year in which he had more than 3 sacks, and that’s including extra games he had to put up statistics like SEC championships, CFP semifinals and the national championship.
However, taking a look at SIS DataHub’s numbers shows that Carter’s impact on Georgia’s defense goes much farther than sack production. I’ve broken down Carter on multiple occasions from a tape perspective, but now, it’s time to look at the data.
Carter finished his 2022 season with 33 pressures and 16 quarterback hits, which both placed sixth among all defensive tackles in the FBS. His total pressures placed 51st among all defenders, his hits tying for 58th and his quarterback hurries tying for 26th in the nation.
I set the minimum pressure total to 25 in SIS’ player leaderboards so as to eliminate as many low-volume, off-ball linebackers from these rankings. That cut the group down to 164 defenders at the FBS level. Among those defenders, Carter tied for 51st with a pressure rate of 13.6%, but he tied for 153rd with a sack rate of just 0.8%.
That 51st pressure rate ranking might not wow a lot of you at first, but it becomes more impressive when you put it in the context of his position. Carter’s 13.6% pressure rate was the third-best among all qualified FBS defensive tackles.
Said rates are naturally a bit lower for defensive tackles than the average edge rusher because it’s tougher to get sacks along the interior, so showing Carter among fellow interior defensive linemen really puts into perspective how good he was. His pressure rate even topped several top edge rushers in the 2023 class, including the likes of Myles Murphy, Isaiah Foskey, Lukas Van Ness, Zach Harrison, Will MacDonald IV and Derick Hall.
Here’s where Carter ranked in other pass-rushing analytic categories among fellow defensive tackles:
- 0.038 Points Saved per rush (T-9th)
- 0.000 Points Above Average per rush (T-9th)
- 40.4% positive pass-rush rate (10th)
Carter wasn’t just a very good pass-rusher for Georgia this year; he was also one of the best interior run defenders in all of college football. Among the top 200 FBS defensive tackles in terms of run production in 2022, here’s where Carter stacked up:
- 0.155 Points Saved per play (1st)
- 12.94 total Points Above Average (4th)*
- 0.4 average tackle depth in yards (T-26th)
*A glitch in the system didn’t show Points Above Average per play
It’s worth noting that Carter’s 17.62 Points Saved total against the run placed 14th among FBS defensive tackles, but he placed dead last in terms of total rush snaps. That speaks volumes about just how good he was against the run in 2022.
Once again, I set the pass-rushing filter to a minimum of 25 pressures, which provided an even larger total of 200 prospects for the 2021 season. Carter’s sack rate tied for 172nd at merely 1.2%, but he was very impressive for someone who wasn’t even draft eligible.
He had an 11.7% pressure rate, which tied for 13th among all defensive tackles in the FBS. His 29 pressures tied for the 18th-most at his position, even though he was just 76th in total snaps rushing the passer. Carter placed with a higher pressure rate than both notable 2023 draft prospects and 2022 draft picks, including Myles Murphy, Zach Harrison, Devonte Wyatt, Tyree Wilson, Logan Hall and DeMarvin Leal.
Carter was even a more efficient pass-rusher than his teammate, the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Travon Walker.
Here’s where Carter ranked in 2021 in other pass-rushing analytic categories among fellow defensive tackles:
- 0.071 Points Saved per rush (10th)
- 0.034 Points Above Average per rush (11th)
- 27.9% positive pass-rush rate (200th)
That positive pass-rush rate from 2021 isn’t great, and it shows Carter’s impact last year was much more spotty than it was this year. However, the fact that he still ranked as highly in key analytics shows that, when he was on, Carter was as deadly as arguably any interior defender in the nation at rushing the passer.
Carter was even one of the nation’s best run defenders at the defensive tackle position as a true sophomore. His numbers do go up a bit in 2022, but considering how young and inexperienced he was at the time, his analytical performance against the run was truly remarkable.
Using the same filter of defensive tackles at the FBS level, here’s where Carter ranked among defensive tackles as a true sophomore in 2021:
- 0.121 Points Saved per play (3rd)
- 10.987 total Points Above Average (15th)*
- 0.4 average tackle depth in yards (T-28th)
*A glitch in the system didn’t show Points Above Average per play
I’ll add real quick that both Anderson and Carter were surrounded by NFL talent galore, not just on their defensive line, but on their entire defense. That likely helps to an extent, but the data shows that both players were extremely efficient, much more than many, if not all of their teammates.
In Carter’s case, if you’ve turned against him because of how he placed against Ohio State, I strongly recommend you watch some of his other games, whether that be in 2022 or 2021. There’s a decent chance you might change your mind.