Michael Carter was drafted by the New York Jets in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL draft. Knowing the type of prospect he was, it was a surprise that he was still available for the Jets with the 107th overall selection. Joe Douglas ended up adding a great football player with incredible value. Carter will play year two with the Jets at 23 years old and is going to be a core contributor to the offense in 2022.
Brief review of 2021:
As a rookie, Carter made an impact right away and had an awesome rookie year overall. He concluded 2021 with 964 total yards in 14 games (68.9 per game) on 183 touches (5.3 per touch). Carter had 639 of those yards come rushing with four touchdowns. He had 147 total carries (10.5 per game) and averaged 4.4 yards per carry. As a receiver, Carter had 36 catches for 325 yards.
The size and skills Carter has make him unique and fit the scheme led by Mike LaFleur. Carter runs with great patience and vision in the zone schemes. He is quick and shifty with his low build to the ground. Carter is 5-foot-8 and 201 pounds. His best attribute, one he is well-known for, is his incredible contact balance. He uses his natural leverage with his lower build to his advantage greatly. Most importantly, Carter plays with heart.
Athletically, Carter tested above average last year prior to the NFL draft. While testing, his best trait was his agility. His 20-yard shuttle time of 3.98 placed him in the 97th percentile. His 3-cone time of 6.83 ranked him in the 85th percentile. Carter has solid 4.54 speed and explosiveness.
He offers versatility in the run and pass game. Last year, he proved that he can run both inside and outside. As a pass-catcher, Carter displayed his pure hands and good route running. He can line up all over the formation. Lastly, Carter showed in 2021 that he can help as a pass blocker.
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Projected role for the New York Jets:
Carter will share the backfield with rookie Breece Hall. On third down and in two-minute situations, a sizable amount of reps should go to Carter. On first and second down, there will likely be a rotation between him and Hall to keep them both fresh. Combined between the run and pass game, Carter should get, on average, 15 total touches per week. He averaged 13.1 last year. Even with Hall, Carter probably sees his average increase.
2022 stat projection:
If he plays in all 17 games, Carter should record 1,200 total yards from scrimmage (70.6 per game), a rise from his 68.9 last year. Between yardage in the run and pass game, a fair balance to expect is roughly 700-800 rushing yards and 400-500 receiving yards. Carter should finish with anywhere from 175-200 rushing attempts and roughly 50 receptions. He should get at least five total touchdowns this season. Finally, seeing his yards per carry from last year of 4.4 improve would be excellent.
Final preview thoughts:
Carter is a young, pivotal player to the Jets who will only build on his rookie year success. He will help Zach Wilson as a runner, receiver, and blocker. As stated, expect 15 total opportunities a week with a few games where he gets closer to 20 touches. Carter is going to have a great year two with the Jets in 2022.