Report: Raiders won't draft Georgia star Jalen Carter at No. 7 because of Henry Ruggs III comparisons

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Jalen Carter is rated by some as the No. 1 prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft.

If he falls to No. 7, the Las Vegas Raiders reportedly won't select him. That's according to The Athletic's Vic Tafur, who cited a league source Thursday stating that the comparisons between Carter and former Raiders receiver Henry Ruggs III are too close.

Josh McDaniels denies report

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After Tafur's report, the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Vincent Bonsignore reported that Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels told him that the team was still doing due diligence on Carter and had not ruled out selecting him. They plan to meet with Carter in April.

Whether or not they have ruled him out, Carter dropping to No. 7 would present a loaded decision on draft night.

Carter anchored Georgia's front seven as an All-America defensive tackle in 2022 as the Bulldogs won their second consecutive national title. He was charged on March 1 with reckless driving and racing related to a fatal crash that left Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock and recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy dead.

Carter pleaded no contest to both misdemeanor charges. He was sentenced to 12 months probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, perform 80 hours of community service and complete a driving course.

Carter was not driving the car that police say crashed through two utility poles before colliding with a tree and an SUV before coming to rest next to an Athens, Georgia apartment building, leaving Willock and LeCroy dead. Police say that LeCroy was intoxciated and that she and Carter were "operating their vehicles in a manner consistent with racing shortly after leaving the downtown Athens area at about 2:30 a.m." 

The fatal crash took place the morning after Georgia’s national championship celebration on Jan. 14. Carter's attorney Kim Stephens wrote in a statement on the day of his sentencing that Carter "had not been drinking alcohol and was not under the influence of alcohol or any other illegal substance at the time of the wreck."

Jan 9, 2023; Inglewood, CA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jalen Carter (88) against the TCU Horned Frogs during the CFP national championship game at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jalen Carter reportedly won't be joining the Las Vegas Raiders. (Mark J. Rebilas/Reuters)

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Carter left the scene of the crash before emergency personnel arrived and returned when a Georgia staffer relayed a request from police for him to do so. Stephens wrote that "Carter never left the scene of the accident without being told that he could leave."

From a purely football standpoint, Carter would present the Raiders with a tremendous value opportunity if he fell the No. 7 pick in the draft. Per The Athletic, Carter has "already been crossed off" by the Raiders because "the comparison is too close to home for the Raiders and their fans in the Las Vegas community" in regards to Ruggs.

The Raiders drafted Ruggs with the 12th pick of the 2020 draft out of Alabama. The wide receiver now awaits trial in the crash that killed 23-year-old Tina Tintor and her dog on a Las Vegas residential street in 2021. Ruggs faces two felony charges of driving under the influence causing death or serious injury and two felony charges of reckless driving. Police say that Ruggs drove his Corvette 156 mph with a 0.16% blood-alcohol level prior to colliding with Tintor's car.