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Jalen Carter impressing Eagles veterans ahead of rookie season: 'He looks like a baby rhino'

Philadelphia Eagles rookie defensive tackle Jalen Carter creates buzz seemingly every time he steps onto the gridiron.

The No. 9 overall pick has generated rave reviews from Eagles beat writers throughout camp, had solid reps in joint practices with the Cleveland Browns last week and showed out in his few preseason reps.

Most of all, Carter has impressed his teammates.

"He looks like a baby rhino," Eagles corner Darius Slay said on the Big Play Slay show. "You ever seen a baby rhino and you just -- man -- he's crazy. I'm talking about, he's pushing folks back. You can ask (Eagles RT) Lane Johnson. Lane Johnson said it himself, one of the best tackles in the game, said this guy is ready to play right now and ready to take control of a game right now. He's a game changer."

Carter has played very little this preseason -- intimating the Eagles don't need to see the 6-foot-3, 300-pound rookie to know his role in 2023. The Georgia product has played just eight snaps in two preseason games. On his very first rep, Carter blasted past the offensive line and nearly got a sack on third down against Baltimore, generating a QB hit.

"I know y'all heard the report about Jalen Carter, man, breaking the sled," Slay said. "I'm talking about, buddy is strong, man. I'm not gonna compare him to who I want to compare him to, but I've been around a lot of great D-tackles. I've been around (Ndamukong) Suh, Haloti Ngata, Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave. I've been around a great group of guys that play the D-tackle, man, and I'm trying to tell you here, Jalen Carter, this kid is just very, very dominant, man. He's very physical, quicker than what you think and stronger than how he looks."

The praise for the first-round selection isn't coming just from onlookers but from some on the Eagles O-line forced to go up against the rookie during practice.

"He's the guy if you're playing high, he'll get the best of you. He plays very low. He's very strong and he's very quick, lateral quickness. He's made a lot of people look silly in camp so far," Johnson said of Carter. "I've been very impressed with him from Day 1. I think he has tremendous talent, tremendous ability and he plays hard every down. ...

"He's kind of similar to Hargrave. His pass rush ability. I'm trying to think of somebody inside. He's bigger than a Geno Atkins, but pretty twitchy, man. He's 6-foot-3, 320, he's like a bigger Geno, I would say, but, yeah, man, he's impressive. He's impressed me."

To recap, from the mouths of two Eagles Pro Bowl veterans, Carter has been noted alongside the likes of: Ndamukong Suh, Haloti Ngata, Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave and Geno Atkins.

Welp, ship the gold jacket to Philly already.

For Slay, having a force along the line makes his life covering much easier, as it forces the QB to speed up and can take whole sections out of an opponent's playbook.

"I know you all saw his first play against the Baltimore Ravens," Slay said. "He only had one play, I think -- quick off the line, quarterback hurry, almost got a sack, third-down stop -- that's what I need. That's a DB's dream. I'm not trying to cover long, so if they doing their job good, my job gonna be good. ... I'm not lying, I've done seen him get double-teamed in practice, and he getting them both off of him, like he's just strong."

Carter's talent was never in question entering the draft. It was the off-field issues following a fatal crash and no contest plea to reckless driving and racing. If not for that event and the aftermath -- including a subpar pro day -- Carter is likely a top-three pick. Instead, the Eagles swooped in.

"It's crazy that this man fell to a Super Bowl team last year," Slay said. "That's crazy."

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