Today’s Draft Profile takes us to ACC country where we take a look at a running back from North Carolina who could be just what the Steelers need.
Key Numbers: Michael Carter, RB, UNC
|HT: 5’7 7/8″||WT: 202||Wingspan: 73 1/2″||Arm: 29 1/8″||Hand: 9″|
Odds and Ends
He’s from Navarre, Florida where he attended Navarre High School… Was the USA Today Offensive Player of the Year in the State of Florida… Had 3,345 all-purpose yards as a senior… Scored 45 touchdowns in his senior season… Had offers from Florida, Louisville, Tennessee among others… First Team All-ACC selection in 2020… Third Team All-American for 2020… Ran for 308 yards and two scores in win over Miami, FL… Opted out of 2021 Orange Bowl.
What’s to Like
He possesses a wicked little side step… Consistently falls forward when tackled… Routinely bounces off or makes first tackler miss… Speed is more than adequate… His vision is good. Often sees what second level defenders are doing and counters it… Impressive balance… Not great, but a really capable kick returner.
Doesn’t always carry out fakes… Does not always catch the ball cleanly. Can make it more of a struggle than necessary at times… Blitz pickup is a concern due to both size and willingness… Can get washed down quickly if blocking fails at point of attack… Runs decent pass routes out of the backfield but will need improvement… Lacks patience at times with blocking. Doesn’t allow blocks to set up.
I wonder how much the Steelers would like him if they hadn’t drafted Anthony McFarland last year? That said, I’m not quite sure he fits the bill for them anyway. Don’t get me wrong, there is a ton to like with this kid and I think it’s very possible he makes an offense in the NFL better. The Steelers have one major ask of all running backs and that’s to be stout in blitz pickup. This is an area where Carter struggles. The Notre Dame tape is a good example of this. My initial thoughts on his hands weren’t positive but the more I watched the more impressed I was. He is incredibly smooth as a runner and will rip off big chunks but I really think he’ll need to be paired with a bigger, more physical back. He could be very effective as a third down back as long as he isn’t asked to block a lot.
My Draft Grade
I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he makes a huge splash for someone in the 2021 NFL season. Yes, there are concerning things but he runs so hard and with such quickness and change of direction that he’s going to make someone very happy to have him. Would he fit the Pittsburgh Steelers’ outside zone run game they appear to be headed for? I believe he would but I’m not convinced he’s what the Steelers are looking for. I’ve got him as a second rounder and would be surprised to see him last past that point.
Film Watched: vs Virginia Tech (2020), vs Syracuse (2020), vs Boston College (2020), vs Notre Dame (2020)
Stats courtesy profootballnetwork.com