2021 NFL Draft Michael Carter Profile

by Bob Van Duser
2021 NFL Draft Chazz Surratt

Welcome back for a look at my 2021 NFL Draft Michael Carter Profile! Michael Carter is one of my favorite running back prospects that NO ONE is talking about!

In this article I'm going to take a look at his college production statistically and on tape, and then we'll take a look at what we can expect for his NFL Draft stock, and take a look at some team fits. Lastly I'll lay out my thoughts on what his Fantasy outlook might be going forward!

If you haven't yet be sure to check out my other Draft Profiles on Patrick Surtain II, Caleb Farley, Micah Parsons, and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, as well as our teams latest NFL Mock Draft!

2021 NFL Draft Michael Carter Profile

Collegiate Career

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Overview

Despite a decent high school career, Michael Carter wasn't a highly sought after running back prospect. Coming from a small high school in Florida, he was only recruited by Louisville, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Florida before ultimately deciding to commit to North Carolina.

At the start of his Freshman Season he was only 18 years old. He was utilized as a committee back but still amassed 97 attempts his Freshman Season. That's as an 18-year-old! That workload, though not a work horse role, is impressive to me at that age.

Javonte Williams entered the picture in his Sophomore Season, but didn't garner much attention in his(Williams) Freshman Season. In fact Williams only drew 43 Attempts, less than half of Carter's Freshman Season workload. That's interesting to me.

Over the course of the next two seasons it became a much more even timeshare between these two backs. Williams amassed 166 attempts in his Sophomore Season and 157 in his Junior Season respectively. Compared to Carter's 177 Attempts in his Junior Season, and 156 attempts in his Senior Season respectively.

Stats

*Note: Stats with a * are areas that Carter performed better than Javonte Williams*

As a Freshman Carter amassed 97 Attempts, 559 Rushing Yards (5.8 YPC), 8 Rushing TDs, 11 Receptions, 100 Receiving Yards (9.1 YPR), and 1 Receiving Touchdown over 11 Games. (All without Javonte Williams on the team)

In his Sophomore Season Carter had 84 Attempts*, 597 Rushing Yards (7.1)**, 2 Rushing TDs, 25 Receptions*, 135 Receiving Yards (5.4 YPR), and 1 Receiving TD* over 9 Games.

As a Junior Carter amassed 177 Attempts*, 1003 Rushing Yards (5.7 YPC)**, 3 Rushing TDs, 21 Receptions*, 154 Receiving Yards (7.3 YPR), and 2 Receiving TDs* over 13 Games.

In his Senior Season Carter had 156 Attempts, 1245 Rushing Yards (8.0 YPC)**, 9 Rushing TDs, 25 Receptions (Same as Williams), 267 Receiving Yards (10.7 YPR), and 2 Receiving TDs over 11 Games.

The one big note here is that Carter never outproduced Williams in Rushing TDs. Outside of that, it's actually quite impressive what Carter has been able to do in comparison to Javonte Williams.

Another impressive note is that in his Senior Season Carter had 105 more Rushing Yards on one less carry. But ultimately the big difference here is the TDs. We'll get to how that breaks down next.
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Tale of the Tape

Michael Carter's tape is so, so, soooo good! I don't understand how anyone can rank him outside of their Top 5 Rookie RBs. He's shifty, quick, fast, has the long speed as well.

He's smaller but still does well between the tackles thanks to his excellent vision. One of my favorite things I noticed is it seems like he feels the defender closing in, and he baits him in and then stutter-steps to the side to evade the tackle. He turns it on and off in a snap and has enough burst to kick it right back into high gear to grind out more yards.

The big knock I have on him isn't even his fault. I happened to notice on several sequences (which ended up being many, many more sequences) that Carter would get them down within the 10 yard line and he'd get pulled from the game. Then Williams would come straddling in, and snag a score usually from six yard out, or less. Come to find this was a massive trend.

Upon further research, Williams had 22 TDs from Scrimmage in his final college season. A whopping 13 of those were rushes from 6 or less yards out. To not discredit him entirely, he managed five TDs from 30+ Yards out as well.

Meanwhile, Carter was credited with a TD within the 6-yard-line and four TDs beyond 30 Yards. He was regularly tackled within the 10 and then taken out of the game. I counted this on at least seven occasions.

So what does it mean? Well, often time teams have a preference on who's in for what packages in the red zone, and what RB gets the ball in close to the goal line. Clearly, UNC preferred Williams in these situations. This doesn't mean that Carter won't be able to obtain this role as a rookie or at some point in his career, but it is concerning.

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Projections

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Draft Projections

I'm expecting Carter to be drafted during Day 2 of the NFL Draft. I'd be shocked to see a back with his pass-catching prowess and underrated rushing ability go later than the 3rd Round.

Look for an RB needy team who may be looking to shift to the new age style of RBBC. Where he'll be slotted in with a bigger back like he was with Williams in college. Or some teams who already run offenses that could use a back of his ability but are faced with free agency concerns. Some fits are Atlanta, Green Bay, San Francisco, or Arizona.

Fantasy Projections

I'm honestly pretty pumped for Carter as a Fantasy asset. Obviously, it comes down to his landing spot and if he'll get the work. But if he's able to find a home where he's getting even 50% of the workload, I believe he'll be efficient enough to garner a great deal of value.

I'm currently ranking him as my pre-NFL Draft RB3, but it is still early and I have a lot more to dive into. I just see him as the RB of today's NFL. He can run effectively outside, between the tackles, his vision is impeccable, he can run decent enough routes and catch the ball.

Player Comparison

My floor player comparison is Nyheim Hines of the Indianapolis Colts. I don't think he quite has the hands that Hines does, but Carter is a spark plug with the ball in his hands. But with their similar size, and abilities, you could do a lot worse than Michael Carter.

My ceiling comparison is Aaron Jones of the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Jones and Austin Ekeler were the first players I thought of when I first saw Carter play. While Ekeler is more realistic being between Hines and Jones talent-wise, we're talking about ceilings folks.

Carter's shiftiness and skill with the ball in his hands are impressive. I really enjoy watching him work.

Conclusion

I really like Michael Carter, plain and simple. He checks just about every box for me as a prospect. If he can end up with a decent landing spot with some opportunity I'm really going to love his outlook going forward.

Thanks for checking out my 2021 NFL Draft Michael Carter Profile! Hope you enjoyed it! Let me know your thoughts on Twitter @BobVan_IDP, I am Bob Van The IDP Man but I really wanted to take some time to highlight one of my favorite RB prospects!


Also be sure to check out our Super Bowl edition of the 2021 NFL Mock Draft, as well as the Fantasy Six Pack Way Too Early 2021 Fantasy Football Mock Draft

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