Michael Carter NFL Draft 2021 Prospect Profile: North Carolina RB Fits Modern NFL
This is The Game Day’s Michael Carter NFL Draft 2021 Prospect Profile. After you read our Michael Carter Scouting Report, Marcus Mosher’s first 2021 NFL Mock Draft for Round 1.
Michael Carter NFL Draft Prospect Profile
Michael Carter Draft Prospect: Bio & Measurables
- School: North Carolina
- Class in Final Season: Senior
- Age on NFL Draft Day: 21 Years Old
- Height: 5-foot-8
- Weight: 202 lbs.
Michael Carter Scouting Report
- Extremely quick to hit the hole.
- Excellent vision leading up to and through the line of scrimmage.
- Smooth, “floating-like” running style.
- Good explosiveness up the field and possesses a second gear once out in the open.
- Above-average instincts as a receiver and shows reliable hands.
- Impressive lateral quickness.
- Strong knack for jump cuts and can change direction relatively seamlessly.
- Short stature could be a health hazard at the NFL level.
- Can have trouble breaking tackles and bursting through contact, including behind the line of scrimmage.
- Average pass protector.
- Could occasionally benefit from slowing down a tick before attacking the line of scrimmage, as he can miss running lanes at times.
Michael Carter Draft Prospect NFL Outlook
Carter approaches his NFL career with a prudent sense of timing, as the age of the 25-carry, workhorse back has largely been left in the dustbin of league history, at least for the time being. In its place, a backfield-by-committee approach has mostly taken hold, and even on teams where there is a clear lead back, the “complementary option” often enjoys a higher profile than counterparts from previous eras.
The examples were plentiful in 2020. Kenyan Drake was spelled by Chase Edmonds a decent amount in Arizona. Melvin Gordon ceded a good bit to Phillip Lindsay when both were healthy in Denver. Even Nick Chubb and Ezekiel Elliott were seen giving up their fair share of touches to the likes of Kareem Hunt and Tony Pollard, to name but a few examples.
As such, Carter, who’s already perfectly comfortable working in a highly successful timeshare arrangement with fellow 2021 draft class member Javonte Williams at North Carolina, should enjoy a fairly seamless transition into the next level in terms of his likely role expectations. Carter already arrives with the ability to take on third-down duties as an outlet option out of the backfield, but as he demonstrated in college while handling 333 carries over his last two seasons alone, he can also shoulder the load on early downs in multiple series during a game.
Carter’s overall skill set also translates very well to the current pro game, where pass-catching acumen is a matter of long-term survival and opportunity at the position. Carter also appears to possess the innate quickness, vision and ability to change direction on the fly that will be integral to winning his share of battles against the faster and more powerful linebackers he’ll often encounter at the outer edges of the first level and the second tier of a defense in the NFL.
As mentioned before, the smaller frame will be a stigma that Carter will have to progressively dissipate with success as a pro. There is certainly no shortage of examples with comparable dimensions currently thriving in the league. Moreover, if the North Carolina alum wants to aim for the highest level in terms of who he draws inspiration from, a Hall of Famer by the name of Emmitt Smith that stood just an inch higher at 5-foot-9 and deftly and consistently avoided direct hits on his way to an NFL-record 18,355 rushing yards is one legend he’d do well to hone in on.
Michael Carter NFL Comparison
Michael Carter Scouting Report: With his modest stature, ability to explode through the hole, great vision and strong pass-catching skills, Carter is reminiscent of a quartet of successful NFL backs in the Colts’ Nyheim Hines, the Chargers’ Austin Ekeler, the 49ers’ Raheem Mostert and the Cardinals’ Chase Edmonds.
Carter is a shade shorter than all four players at 5-foot-8, and he’s a bit heavier than Hines while checking in lighter than both Mostert and Edmonds. All four players are more accomplished pass catchers on paper than Carter at this point, but the rookie could really outpace his relatively modest college production through the air rather quickly in the right system.
Carter also appears to have the quickness and strong instincts in the open field of all four players, and although he seems to be envisioned more as a complementary back to start his career, it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility he develops into a moderte-volume primary option akin to Ekeler and Mostert.
(Read Marcus Mosher’s take on the NFL Draft Ja’Marr Chase vs. DeVonta Smith wide receiver debate.)
Michael Carter 2021 Draft Team Fits
Seattle Seahawks (No. 56 overall selection, but possible trade up within second round)
The Seahawks reportedly will let free agent Chris Carson walk without a fight, and the same could well be true of veteran Carlos Hyde. The departure of both players would leave Seattle with a seriously depleted pre-draft running back depth chart headlined by the oft-injured Rashaad Penny, Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas. In other words, Seattle will certainly be in the market for running back help, and Carter would be a potentially excellent fit near the end of the second round. His strong all-around resume would make him a good fit on a Russell Wilson-helmed offense (assuming the star quarterback is still in a Seahawks uniform in 2021, naturally) and he could go a long way toward helping the offense maintain balance.
New York Jets (No. 66 overall selection, but possible trade up to late second round)
When considering teams with barren ground games going into the offseason, the Jets certainly qualify as Exhibit A. New York is now under the leadership of Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, who both come from a 49ers team that placed high emphasis on a diverse running attack under Kyle Shanahan and that enjoyed success with a very comparable back in Mostert. With Ty Johnson essentially the only running back of note under contract for 2021 as free agency begins, New York has plenty of vacancies at the position and Carter would seemingly be a natural to fill one of them. In fact, while it would certainly be unorthodox, the need for fresh, talented bodies in New York’s backfield is such, the team could potentially first grab a Travis Etienne or Najee Harris with either the No. 23 or No. 34 selection and still take Carter were he still sitting there late in the second (with a trade up) or early in the third round at their current No. 66 slot.
Houston Texans (No. 67 overall selection, but possible trade up to late second round)
If Carter were to somehow get by both the Seahawks and Jets, the Texans would also seem like a very good fit for the 21-year-old’s diverse skill set, and Houston perhaps would even be willing to move up a few picks to nab him. The team has David Johnson under contract for one more season, while long-time pass-catching complement Duke Johnson was already released earlier this offseason. The unproven Buddy Howell is currently listed as the No. 2 back on the depth chart heading into free agency, so Carter would slot in immediately ahead of him into Duke Johnson’s old role and offer a more dynamic, well-rounded presence than his veteran predecessor.
Michael Carter 2021 Draft Prediction
Seattle Seahawks (No. 56 overall selection or possible trade up within second round):
While a Carter-Jets fit makes a lot of sense, it may require New York investing the No. 34 selection in him or vaulting over the Seahawks at No. 56 to make it happen. Additionally, as noted above, Seattle may opt to move up a few slots and take a back that would help immediately replenish their very thin backfield. With Seattle not having a first-round pick this year, this spot would also give them their first opportunity to get their hands on some rookie running back talent, and Etienne, Harris and Carter’s college backfield mate Williams are all virtual locks to be off the board by No. 56.
Michael Carter NFL Draft Bet
First RB drafted (+3400 at UniBet, +3300 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
An interesting wager to briefly contemplate in a year where running back is taking a back seat to both quarterback and wide receiver in terms of draft hype. However, this is still a significant longshot, considering both Etienne and Harris carry first-round pedigree and are thought of as bell-cow candidates that can carry a ground game on their shoulders. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Harris’ tantalizing package of size, speed and cache that comes with being a Crimson Tide alumnus particularly seems to guarantee this wager on Carter would be dead on arrival.
Now that you’ve read our Michael Carter 2021 Draft Prospect scouting report, stay tuned for more NFL Draft analysis. Then, after the 2021 NFL Draft, we’ll cover his impact on betting lines, odds and tips for his NFL team.
New BetMGM customers can claim a signup offer to get a Risk-Free Bet up to $600. Use this offer to bet on the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and any others involving the top draft prospects like Michael Carter.