A big senior year should give Carter plenty of opportunity to prove he belongs in the NFL
If it's a matter of most recent impressions then Michael Carter is well positioned among the running back prospects in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. Although he was slightly overshadowed by his North Carolina backfield mate Javonte Williams, Carter still saved his best for last, averaging 8.0 yards per carry this past fall. He doesn't fit the profile of a workhorse back, but there are more than enough tools for him to contribute in the NFL.
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Michael Carter Draft Profile
College: North Carolina
A quick, creative runner, Carter saved his best for last at the college level with a star turn his senior year. His vision is excellent, and his lateral movement skills and quick feet allow him to string moves together and create space; he can break off chunks of yardage even if the design doesn’t work. His size plays in his favor as he approaches the line of scrimmage, playing peek-a-boo with the second level and accelerating quickly through the hole once the opportunity presents itself. He keeps his feet moving through contact, and combined with his natural leverage and the small target area he presents to tacklers, he can be difficult to get on the ground despite his diminutive size. He is a weapon out in space in the passing game, with the ability to create after the catch.
Size is the biggest issue with Carter, who isn’t built to handle between-the-tackles runs or much of a heavy workload at the pro level. Along with being a bit underpowered, he’s also quicker than he is fast, lacking the true home-run speed for the next level. He needs some refinement as a receiver to truly maximize his likely role as a satellite back; too often he fights the ball when trying to make a catch. Like teammate Javonte Williams, Carter benefited from a lot of great blocking and bad tackling.
He’s a complementary back, but Carter’s ability to create something out of nothing makes him a valuable asset in the NFL. He should be able to make an impact over 25-30 snaps per game early, with the chance for a much bigger role if he develops further as a pass catcher.
Final Grade: 2nd/3rd round