The Philadelphia Eagles entered the 2023 NFL Draft with some holes to fill, especially on defense. You can argue about which one was the “biggest,” but the defensive line was certainly on the list. On Thursday evening, Howie Roseman traded with the Chicago Bears and moved up one spot, from No. 10 to No. 9, to select Georgia Bulldogs defensive tackle Jalen Carter and then picked Georgia pass rusher Nolan Smith at No. 30 when he fell to them.
While the Birds managed to go one whole day without selecting a Bulldog, on Saturday they traded in to the beginning of the fourth round and grabbed Georgia CB Kelee Ringo with pick No. 105.
With the selections of Carter, Smith, and Ringo the Eagles now have five players, joining DL Jordan Davis and LB Nakobe Dean, from the historically excellent 2021 Georgia defense that powered the Bulldogs to a national title. That season, the Dawgs defense allowed only 10.2 points per game, gave up only 268.5 yards per game and saw eight players selected in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Three of those eight players taken in the ‘22 Draft were defensive linemen and all of them went in the first round. DE Travon Walker went first overall, Davis went No. 13 to the Birds, and DT Devonte Wyatt went No. 28 and despite all that, many analysts and college football talking heads thought the best defensive lineman of the bunch was still in school!
The amount of talent and discipline in this clip just blows my mind from the #UGA defense...Nolan Smith defeating the reach block and making the tackle in space...Jordan Davis fighting the reach, Jalen Carter beating the cut block with low hands.— Devin Jackson (@RealD_Jackson) April 23, 2023
Love watching this defense. pic.twitter.com/O6SBcwAZuV
The Birds needed a replacement for Javon Hargrave, who left for San Francisco in free agency, and Roseman decided to go back to the UGA well again. When looking for players who are going to be good in the NFL, sometimes it is as easy as taking the best players from the best teams, folks.
Carter wasn’t able to flash as much of his talent in 2022 due to some knocks he picked up throughout the year causing him to miss two games, but he still had 32 tackles (seven TFL), three sacks, three passes defended, and two forced fumbles. He is an absolute menace on the defensive line and pairing him with Davis and Dean, two players with whom he is intimately familiar, will only make his transition to the pros easier.
The Eagles are putting together the 2021 Georgia defense which is A Very Good Idea— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) April 28, 2023
There were many people, the Bleeding Green Nation staff included, who thought Smith was a viable option for Philly with their first, uh, first round pick, so it should come as no surprise that the Birds were ecstatic he was still there when their second first round pick was on the clock.
Smith was limited to only eight games last season but he still recorded 18 tackles (seven TFL), three sacks, and one pass defended. “We didn’t want to get too cute and we’re excited to add him,” Roseman said after the first round concluded.
Ringo is an exciting prospect for the Birds due to his excellent size, plus athleticism, and shockingly young age (he doesn’t turn 21 until the end of June). He is a moldable ball of clay for Philadelphia who already has some tremendous traits. In his two years of playing at UGA, Ringo played in 29 games (starting 27), recorded 76 tackles (three TFL), four picks, 15 passes defended, one forced fumble, and scored a touchdown.
He made the SEC All-Freshman Team in 2021, when Georgia won the national title thanks largely to his pick-six against Alabama, and then he was second-team All-SEC last year...when Georgia won the national title for the second straight year.
Howie Roseman went to Georgia's practice last year.— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) April 29, 2023
He came back and Nick Sirianni asked him who he liked.
"I don't know, like, the whole defense," Roseman answered.
Now, when discussing Carter it must be noted that he was arrested and booked for reckless driving and racing charges on March 1 in regards to a car crash in January that resulted in the death of a Georgia football staffer and a fellow Georgia player. Carter pleaded no contest and was placed on probation for 12 months, assessed a $1,000 fine and given 80 hours of community service. He must also complete a state-approved driving course.