The young defensive tackle is the rare rookie who has eschewed any perceived startup costs and decided to dominate the NFL right away. In Monday’s 25-11 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carter generated four pressures, a sack, and two quarterback hits, according to Pro Football Focus, while making Baker Mayfield’s life miserable.
Carter also helped spearhead a defense that allowed the Bucs to rush for only 41 yards.
“We always want to stand on not letting teams run the ball against us [and] make them pass it, and then get our rushers out there to pass rush,” Carter said. “And we kind of made that happen tonight.”
Carter is not only the Eagles’ top-graded defender through three games, he’s been the top interior defensive lineman in the entire NFL, according to PFF.
“That is a grown man,” Eagles Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay said when discussing Carter. “This s#$% is crazy!”
The No. 9 overall pick out of Georgia made quite the statement in his first “Monday Night Football” game with a violent punch at the football that dislodged it from running back Rachaad White.
“You gotta punch as hard as you can to get the ball out,” said Carter. “Running backs work on holding the ball, keeping it tight, but I feel like if you punch hard enough you can get it out.”
Mike Tyson never had a knockout punch like that.
“It was a very exciting moment when it happened,” Carter said. “I have seen it growing up. I’ve seen a lot of NFL players punch out the ball and chase it down. When I turned around and saw him catch the ball, I was like, ‘Oh, if he came back my way, it was time me to punch it.’
“And it happened, it got us ball back – big momentum change.”
At 6-foot-3 and 314 pounds, Carter possesses a rare combination of speed and strength that has sparked comparisons to Jerome Brown, Geno Atkins, Warren Sapp, and Aaron Donald to date.
Carter has also fit seamlessly into a defense that includes former Georgia teammates Jordan Davis and Nolan Smith, as well as the injured Nakobe Dean and developmental cornerback Kelee Ringo.
“This defense is awesome,” said Carter. “I love this defense. Everybody trusts one another, plays their roles, and does what they have to do.”
The 22-year-old Carter was expected to be one of the top picks in April’s draft before off-the-field concerns scared multiple teams away and drove the talented rookie right into the arms of the NFC champions, a classic tale of the rich getting richer.