When Day 3 of the NFL Draft started and Michael Carter was still on the board, many in Tar Heel Nation knew that whoever took him for the price of a 4th round pick or possibly even cheaper was getting an absolute steal. We didn’t wait long to find out who that would be, as you’ll remember, because the New York Jets took Carter with the second pick of the day. They’d apparently been sweating the whole third round, where they didn’t have a pick, hoping Carter would fall to them, and later, GM Joe Douglas said that they would have “happily” taken Carter with pick 66, the second pick of the 3rd round, and definitely would have with pick 86, in the back of the third round, if they hadn’t traded both to move up in the first round for Alijah Vera-Tucker. Although he was a Day 3 pick, it was clear that Carter was coming into New York with high expectations for him.
Come OTAs and minicamp, it looks like Carter’s meeting and maybe even exceeding those expectations. This Tweet from a Jets beat source raised a lot of eyebrows on June 5th:
Based on what we’ve seen, the early #Jets RB depth chart looks like:— The Jet Press (@TheJetPress) June 5, 2021
RB1: Michael Carter (yes, already)
RB2: Tevin Coleman
RB3: Ty Johnson
RB4: La’Mical Perine
RB5: Josh Adams
That gap is intentional. Perine and Adams haven’t really been running with the 1’s.
The writer followed it up saying that Carter was already receiving a lion’s share of the first-team reps in OTAs (organized team activities), and that while a rotation is likely given Jets head coach Robert Saleh coming from the San Francisco 49ers, who rotate their backs pretty heavily, Carter’s probably going to figure into it pretty heavily.
Tuesday was the first day of minicamps across the league, where teams have most of their players reporting, new offenses have been installed, and it’s more about practice than onboarding, and Carter started out with the starters again, according to Athletic writer Connor Hughes.
First group of players out there with #Jets O: Wilson, Carter, Davis, Cole, Moore, Kroft, McDermott, Vera-Tucker, McGovern, VanRoten, Fant And D: Franklin-Myers, Shepherd, Curry, Lawson, Davis, Mosley, Pinnock, Echols, Hall, Hassell, Joyner Mims & Herndon with the 2s
Carter seems to generally have had a good first day of camp, according to multiple beat reporters, but everything else has to have paled to this highlight-reel catch that the Jets fortunately put on social media, since reporters aren’t allowed to film minicamps:
We already knew Carter was a human highlight reel, but I’m not sure he ever made a one-handed grab as a Tar Heel, never mind over his shoulder on an inaccurate throw. It’s great to see him continuing to develop, and also see him show out like we knew he could (especially on a rebuilding team like the Jets). We’ll keep updating you on how Carter, and the rest of UNC’s NFL rookies, fare this offseason.