Underrated Jet Surges in NFL Redraft as NYJ Swipes Cowboys Superstar

Michael Carter II

Getty New York Jets cornerback Michael Carter II was the unexpected star of a recent NFL redraft.

The New York Jets have been a poor drafting franchise for a long time — which has obviously contributed to their lack of success over the past decade-plus.

Although it feels like general manager Joe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh are finally correcting that deficiency together after 2022 and 2023, their first draft as a pair certainly had its ups and downs — and that was evident during a recent NFL redraft via The Athletic.

Writer Nick Baumgardner redrafted the first round of the 2021 class on June 15 using the original draft order to “re-do” the initial 32 selections. This is the year the Jets took Zach Wilson at No. 2 overall, while also trading up from No. 23 to No. 14 to land Alijah Vera-Tucker.

Neither of those two were drafted in round one this time around, however, but one underrated Jets selection did surge way up the board in surprising fashion: DB Michael Carter II. Gang Green also doubled down on defense in Baumgardner’s revision — which we’ll break down below.

Jets’ Zach Wilson & Alijah Vera-Tucker Drop in 2021 Redraft as NYJ Steals Cowboys’ Micah Parsons, Loses Michael Carter II

It may not surprise Jets fans hearing that Wilson slipped out of round one, but Vera-Tucker’s fall is a bit harsh — considering he appeared to be turning into one of the NFL’s top guards before his injury in 2022.

“Vera-Tucker, on the other hand, is a tough one for me,” Baumgardner wrote after sending Kansas City Chiefs center Creed Humphrey to Minnesota (no trades) at No. 14 overall. “His value lives in his versatility, and though I love his future as a run blocker, I’m still not sure if he was worth the Jets trading up to nab him at this slot.”

Surely, AVT would factor in somewhere late first round based on that assessment? He did not, as Baumgardner selected former top-10 cornerback Jaycee Horn to the Jets at No. 23. Injuries have derailed Horn’s NFL career thus far.

Saleh’s defense also ended up with Dallas Cowboys superstar playmaker Micah Parsons — a true jack-of-all-trades on the defensive side of the ball.

“Even after considering what [Trevor] Lawrence has shown through two years, you still could make the case for Parsons at No. 1,” Baumgardner reasoned. “The Jets happily would switch their pick at No. 2.”

He added that “some people overcomplicated things with Parsons during the evaluation period, trying to label him as this or that. Quite simply, Parsons is a front-seven chaos machine — the most unique in football right now. Many teams already have started — and will spend the next several draft cycles — looking for their own dynamic, position-less version of Parsons.”

Baumgardner hardly mentioned Wilson, except to say he “wouldn’t” be the pick for the San Francisco 49ers at No. 3 overall either — choosing Justin Fields instead. Trey Lance and Mac Jones were both still selected in this redraft despite their struggles (to Denver and New England again), an obvious slight on Wilson.

As for Carter, the quietly reliable nickelback went from a fifth-round pick to an astounding 22nd overall (Tennessee Titans).

“Carter is one of the biggest movers in my 2021 redraft,” Baumgardner detailed. “A fifth-round pick (No. 107) who many saw as being way too small to ever be effective as a full-time slot corner, Carter has proven his doubters incorrect. His 4.32 speed and football IQ have served him — and the Jets — well through two years. He can still get better, but Carter’s already a dependable slot corner in the NFL, and there aren’t many who can make that claim.”

Ex-Jets WR Elijah Moore Doesn’t Make the Cut

Ex-Jets second-round wide receiver Elijah Moore was also in contention for Baumgardner’s article, considering he was picked toward the start of round two in the No. 34 slot. It’s unclear where he would have gone in this redraft, but it was somewhere outside of the top 32.

For players like Wilson and Moore, the potential was so great during that 2021 spring and summer — as the former connected with the latter for “wow moments” and deep completions throughout the offseason program.

There were growing pains, as you’d expect, but the talent was also apparent at the time. Having said that, those practices never quite translated to games and in Moore’s case, off-the-field drama contributed to his early exit from New York.

Amon-Ra St. Brown was the only wideout that jumped Moore in this redraft, although first rounders Kadarius Toney and Rashod Bateman were snubbed by Baumgardner as well.