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Jalen Carter ties rookie record over last 5 seasons

Did the Bears make a mistake in not drafting him?

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Jalen Carter had a heckuva NFL debut with the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

According to Zebra statistics, Carter tied a rookie NFL record for most pressures for a rookie defensive tackle in a game over the last five seasons. He recorded six pressures and one sack on 32 total pass rushes against the New England Patriots.

Did the Bears make a mistake in not drafting the Georgia product?

Flashback to the 2023 NFL draft in April. The Bears owned the No. 9 pick in the draft. When the clock started on their turn, they had the chance to draft Carter, as a car accident induced by racing, and involving Carter, drove his stock down pre-draft.

The Bears traded their pick to the Eagles, moving one spot down to the No. 10 pick. The Eagles took Carter, bolstering an already elite-level defensive line with arguably the draft's best prospect. The Bears chose Darnell Wright, a much-needed selection for arguably one of the league's worst offensive lines.

Don't forget: the Bears owned the worst defensive line last season, too. They recorded 20 total sacks, the fewest of any team last season. They hardly pressured the quarterback and opposing signal callers were free to do whatever they wanted in the pocket against the Bears.

At the time, it made sense. Carter's character was seriously put into question after he was involved in a reckless racing accident that saw one of his Georgia teammates and a staff member die. He fled the scene, too, and lied to the cops about his involvement, making NFL teams think twice about him.

Most outsiders made sense of the Bears passing on Carter from their perspective. The Eagles have an established, concrete roster that can afford to take a risk in Carter. The Bears own a youthful, culture-seeking roster that could be dangerous to inject with Carter.

General manager Ryan Poles understood the risks at the time, too.

"I will say that our culture is important," Poles said on ESPN 1000. "I'll say that we know where our roster is right now and what it can handle, what it can't handle. I think that's part of being intelligent in this space is knowing your locker room and where it's at.

"I'm happy we made the decision that we made. Specifically, on Jalen, I think he went to a fantastic place that has, kinda like their cement dry in their foundation."

Will prioritizing culture hold up as the right decision?

After watching the Bears loaf around against the Packers on Sunday, I'm not so sure Carter was worth passing on.

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