We have reached the halfway point of the 2021 NFL season for the New York Jets.
There have been some high and low moments, but there are still nine more games to go in this new 17-week schedule.
In those remaining contests, it presents a golden opportunity for some players to rise to the occasion.
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It’s Time to Make Some Magic
The coaching staff was flabbergasted that Michael Carter was still available in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL draft.
We shouldn’t be as shocked that he has performed so well in a green and white uniform.
The former UNC product leads the Jets in rushing (328) and is second on the team in both receptions (27) and receiving yards (263).
The even better news is this is only the beginning.
Maurice Moten wrote a column for Bleacher Report where he documented unheralded players on every NFL team that has the best chance to break out in the remaining games on the docket.
He chose MC1 as “the safest option” on the team because “he is well on his way” to lead the team in yards from scrimmage.
Carter will have the most opportunities, he has the talent, but the one part of his game that he needs to figure out is consistency.
The 22-year-old is averaging 3.8 yards per rush which ranks 36th in the NFL and his hands have been super inconsistent.
Carter has three drops on the season and that’s tied for the fifth-most in the NFL this season. Most of those missed opportunities could have been massive plays and that’s the missing ingredient to take him to the next level.
Rare Draft Find for Gang Green
The Jets haven’t fared well in the NFL draft over the last couple of decades and that is the main culprit for the team’s recent struggles.
Although the 2021 class seems like they’re changing that narrative. Normally you can’t properly evaluate a draft class until three years later, but it sure looks like Carter is a stud coming out of the fourth round.
When you look at recent history, he has a chance to be the best Jets fourth-rounder in over a decade:
- La’Mical Perine, running back, Florida; 2020
- James Morgan, quarterback, FIU; 2020
- Trevon Wesco, fullback/tight end, West Virginia; 2019
- Chris Herndon, tight end, Miami; 2018
- Chad Hansen, wide receiver, California; 2017
- Juston Burris, defensive back, NC State; 2016
- Bryce Petty, quarterback, Baylor; 2015
- Jalen Saunders, wide receiver, Oklahoma; 2014
- Shaquelle Evans, wide receiver, UCLA; 2014
- Dakota Dozier, offensive lineman, Furman; 2014
Most of these players were either complete busts or only had a cup of coffee with the team before moving on.
The bar that Carter has to clear is all the way back from the 2011 NFL draft when the Jets selected Bilal Powell with the No. 126 overall pick out of Louisville.
He spent his entire nine-year career with Gang Green and will forever be remembered as a fan favorite. Powell finished his career with 5,275 yards from scrimmage, 20 total touchdowns, and 211 receptions.
If Carter can have half the career Powell did, the Jets will be pretty satisfied with the result.