2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Michael Carter

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Michael Carter

by February 27, 2021 1 comment

Javonte Williams broke onto the scene, taking over much of the NCAA. His partner in crime, Michael Carter, needs to be mentioned in that success. Carter’s ability to play a big-play threat in a rotation system is not just valuable for keeping fresh legs, it is also valuable because it fits what many NFL teams operate on nowadays. Has Carter been rightfully pushed from the limelight for a reason, or is he truly worth having a share of it? With his insane speed, shiftiness, and IQ, it is hard to say he does not deserve it. Let’s see if he stacks up or falls down beneath his all-star teammate.

Make sure to check out all of our other 2021 NFL Draft Scouting Reports.

Player Bio

Name: Michael Carter

Jersey: #8

Position: Running Back

School: North Carolina

Class: Senior

Height: 5’8”

Weight: 199 lbs 

Vision (8.0/10) 

Carter truly is an amazing one-cut back. His field vision is far greater than some NFL running backs have after 5 years of playing. Carter does have a major flaw: he does tend to lack patience on some runs, causing him to bounce in or out too early. This causes him to get tackled instead of going the distance. Carter does have amazing vision past the line of scrimmage. It surpasses elite territory, in fact. His ability to find lanes in the defense fits perfectly with a zone run scheme. Carter overall has extremely solid vision, but his tendency to sometimes not wait brings the score down slightly. Note: 5.0 is average for this scale, 10.0 is the greatest of all time.

Ball Security (8.0/10) 

Carter has had 4 fumbles in 4 years at UNC, but 0 occurred his senior year. The ball never seemed to get wobbly while he was running or getting tackled. This is a huge plus for Carter in a league where Ezekiel Elliott is paid to fumble.

Balance (8.0/10) 

Carter has near-elite balance. Whether it is through contact or simply having a low center of gravity on jump cuts, he is able to stay upright through almost anything. Carter keeps his legs moving and easily shifts his center of gravity. Overall, he is far from easy to take down. It is to note that ankle tackles are awkwardly effective at taking Carter down. 

Ability to Break Tackles (8.25/10) 

UNC knows how to train their running backs to not go down. Carter is extremely slippery. He even deploys a stiff arm and a dive to gain more yards. Carter uses his speed and burst at varying levels to confuse defenders into taking poor angles. That is seriously high NFL IQ play. Again, Carter is surprisingly easy to take down by the ankles. 

Straight-line Speed (8.75/10) 

Watch out! Carter is a home-run-hitter. His speed is lethal on the ground and even in the air. There are numerous instances of Carter taking a run to the house by outrunning opponents. He is dangerous. Carter has been caught up to once on tape, so he cannot hit the 9’s yet.   

Burst (8.75/10) 

There is a reason Carter is known as lightning to Williams’s thunder. He has excellent quick feet along with elite acceleration. Carter visibly changes speed in an instant, which makes him so lethal with the ball in his hands. There is not much else to say: Carter is a one-cut, home-run-hitting king. 

Receiving (6.25/10) 

Although PFF graded Carter at 88.6 for his receiving grade, he is not that spectacular. Carter’s route running is far from elite. There are flashes of acrobatic catches, but they are far from commonplace. Carter did handle bullet passes well. He even caught a throw through heavy contact over the middle. The bottom line: Carter is no asset in the air, but he is far from a pure liability. 

Blocking (5.0/10) 

Carter tries so hard that it is hard to not give him a better score. His size obviously hinders his ability to be a consistent blocker; however, he does have some high-quality plays. Carter is willing to take a major hit in order to protect his quarterback. This is great if he could be a consistent asset in this regard. Carter also has some trouble with analyzing blitzes, but he did show solid adjustment after the fact. 

Positional Versatility (3.5/10) 

There really are not many roles Carter can fill. He has some reps returning, but it appears as if that probably is served best for another player. Unless Carter is in a zone run scheme, his talent will be wasted. 

Competitive Toughness (5/5) 

Few play with the ferocity and willingness that Carter does. He easily is willing to lay his health on the line for the success of his team. 

Injury (3.5/5)

Carter had one notable injury back in 2018 during practice, but that is it. It is notable that he has missed games every year.

Player Summary 

Carter most certainly has earned his spot in the top four running backs. Although he will only be successful in one scheme as a rotational back, Carter will be great at that role and elevate the offense around him. He truly can be an amazing asset. Carter’s team-first mentality is another huge plus. In a committee role, he for sure will have a noticeable impact on the field.

Even though Williams looks more all-around, beware of the potential his teammate possesses. Hopefully, teams will respect his fit and not ruin his career for selfish reasons. It is obvious that many eyes are glued to day two of draft day for which team takes Carter. It will determine whether he will be a boom or just another bust. That is why Carter has no place near the top 40-50 players in this class regardless of the “on paper” talent.

 Final Grade (73/100): Late Second Round

 Player Comp: LeSean McCoy

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