2021 Raiders Draft Prospect
Name: Michael Carter
School: North Carolina
Weight: 200 pounds
Normally, the term ” chunk yardage” refers to backs that lack speed but will gain yards in bunches. However, Carter introduces a new dynamic. With his ability to stop/start in the open field, Carter catches the defenders in awkward spots, then explodes after a cut. While the prospect may not flash breakaway speed, the ability to gash defenses remains his best tangible trait.
From shoulders to toes, Carter weaves through traffic, making opponents whiff. Top to bottom, Carter’s ability to create later space helps his cause. First, he sells the shoulder fake as a definite movement to bait defenders. The prospect capitalizes on the would-be tackler’s lazy tendency of using their eyes and not their feet to maintain proper positioning. Behind the line of scrimmage, the UNC product wins with slight-to-elongated jumpcuts to generate space.
At the next level, the prospect transitions to a third-down role. At UNC, Carter’s ability to catch in and away from his body, while on the run makes him stand out. Plus, his route tree expanded during his senior year. The coaches loaded more onto his proverbial plate. Showing that level of trust paid off. Carter’s yards per reception rose to 10.7 during his senior season.
In no part of the prospect’s approach is where this trait surfaces. Carter doesn’t run to contact, His game doesn’t fit the bullyball aspect. Maybe with a bit of added strength would translate. Yet, nothing in his Chapel Hill film shows Carter as a power back.
With leveled eyes, Carter reads the play well, diagnosing threats as they develop. When he hits the hole, the prospect chooses the right one, ensuring that he drives downhill, building up a bit of momentum. Additionally, watch the guide hand, on the back of his blocker to run off the back of.
Playing in a crowded backfield doesn’t faze Carter. He shared snaps with Javonte Williams for years. As a result, the ability to remain fresh and ready is a lost art. Many backs enter the draft, after playing as the lead runner in college. They’re accustomed to numerous carries.
While Josh Jacobs improved his hands in the passing game, his route tree still looks limited. In contrast, Carter would give the Raiders more than a safety valve. Instead of the bailout dumpoffs, the former Tarheel would excel versus linebackers. With green in front of him, Carter will generate big plays. Jon Gruden prefers to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible. However, as 2020 wore on, Jacobs and the run game completely ground to a halt. Behind, their workhorse, the team needs an athletic backup. The Raiders need a serious upgrade behind Jacobs. Carter provides that.