In the fifth round of the 2021 NFL draft, the New York Jets selected slot cornerback Michael Carter II. As a rookie, Carter started from Week 1 and played in 15 games totaling 776 snaps. He played well throughout the year in both coverage and defending the run. Carter is a key piece to the future of the Jets’ defense, playing a premium position. As the defense looks to take a drastic step in the right direction this year, let’s preview how 2022 should go for Carter.
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Carter’s skillset, stats, and role
For a slot cornerback, Carter has enough size at 5-foot-9, 184 pounds, and 29 1/8″ arm length. His best attribute athletically is his blazing 4.36 speed. It allows him to stay with slot receivers in coverage. Overall, he was good in coverage for a rookie. In his first year with the Jets, Carter recorded five passes defended.
As a smaller player, Carter showed great physicality and a willingness to stop the run lining up near the end of the line of scrimmage. He recorded 72 total tackles and four tackles for loss last season. When he was utilized as a pass rusher, Carter made an impact. He concluded his first season with one sack, two quarterback hits, and three hurries, giving him six total pressures.
Carter only committed two penalties in his rookie season. He also recovered two fumbles in 2021. However, he did not have any interceptions. This will be the main thing for Carter to improve on to put himself with the top slot cornerbacks in football.
There is a multitude of reasons to be excited about Carter’s future with the Jets. He will play this upcoming season at just 23-years-old. Now, with Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed both on the outside, it should lead to more success for Carter working on the inside.
The improved pass rush from the front four could potentially lead to more passes defended and interceptions. With now a year in the NFL along with the defensive scheme under his belt, he should play even faster. Carter possesses the skills needed in coverage as well as the ability as a tackler against the run to be an even better slot cornerback for the Jets in 2022.