Imagine a world where the New York Jets aren’t awful.
With a change at general manager and head coach, there’s a new tone taking shape in the Jets organization. Much like the rebuild that we saw the Cleveland Browns go through when they hired Kevin Stefanski to take over as head coach, the Jets and new head coach Robert Saleh are poised to turn things around.
Much of it will hinge on how the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, Zach Wilson, turns out. But don’t look past fourth-round running back Michael Carter.
Carter’s skillset will help Zach Wilson
At 5-foot-10, 199 pounds, Carter isn’t the biggest back. That said, he has vision and patience, and can weave through traffic with ease. Carves a path through the second level of a defense in a poetic way. He fits a zone running scheme and is very effective catching passes, providing a great safety blanket to rookie quarterback Zach Wilson.
Wilson, as he continues to grow, would benefit greatly from a rushing attack that can take pressure off of him. The seemingly ageless Frank Gore led the Jets with 653 rushing yards on 3.5 yards per carry last season.
With a running back depth chart that consists of Tevin Coleman, Lamical Perine, Ty Johnson, and Josh Adams, Carter will have the opportunity to carve out lead back duties and give them production from the position that they’ve been sorely missing.
With the regular season starting next month, Carter and Coleman are separating themselves from the pack as the top two running backs on the team, according to Connor Hughes of The Athletic. These two running backs figure to both be heavily utilized in this offense.
The Jets have a sneaky good offensive line
People are severely underrating the offensive line in New York. Last year’s first-round pick Mekhi Becton came in and immediately took over as the starting left tackle, and put together a promising rookie season. This year, the Jets doubled down and Traded up in the first round this year to add Alijah Vera-Tucker, who is slated to play left guard next to Becton. They also added Morgan Moses in free agency, who will compete for the right tackle position.
This isn’t the hapless offense of the Jets past. The line is going to be vastly improved, and will open lanes for Carter and company to put together a ground game that will help the Jets move the chains in a way they haven’t done in years.
Carter’s college resume points to future success
Typically, players who put together good resumes in college leave for the NFL Draft after their junior year. Despite putting together a 1,000 yard rushing season in his junior campaign, Carter returned for his senior year to improve his draft stock.
He returned to North Carolina, and it sure looks like it worked.
Despite sharing the backfield with Javonte Williams, who was drafted in the second round by the Denver Broncos and was the second running back to go in the draft, Carter posted career bests across the board. He tallied 1,245 rushing yards on 8.0 yards per carry, nine rushing touchdowns, 25 receptions, 267 rushing yards, and two additional scores.
Carter gives the Jets a playmaker that will contribute on the ground and in the passing game, immediately solidifying himself as running mate of Wilson’s. As the Jets organization looks to rebuild, they have a young core of skill players that can alter the franchise and set them on the path to success.