Michael Carter II
(Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It was deja vu all over again for the New York Jets, who took a man named Michael Carter out of a major North Carolina school.

The New York Jets will be seeing double once training camp begins. With the 154th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Jets took Duke defender Michael Carter II, just over two hours after they chose the unrelated running back Michael Carter out of North Carolina at the start of the fourth round.

The pick was previously obtained from the New York Giants in the trade for Leonard Williams.


Duke’s Carter established himself as a strong tackler and slot defender. He is officially listed as a safety but would often line up as a slot cornerback. Carter drew attention for speed at his pro day, running the 40 at 4.36.

Carter played four seasons at Duke and burst onto the scene with a strong sophomore season, winning the Willis Aldridge Award as Duke’s top defensive back. His 23 career pass breakups are good for 24th in ACC history and he ended his Durham tenure with 135 tackles (7.5 for a loss) and four interceptions. Carter also briefly moonlighted as the Blue Devils’ kick returner during his junior season, ranking seventh in conference average (20.1). The defender was also well-accomplished off the field, reaching the ACC’s All-Academic team multiple times.

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Like previous selection Jamien Sherwood out of Auburn, it wouldn’t be shocking for Carter to contribute in the nickel package and defending the slot. He joins a relatively young secondary headed by the franchise-tagged safety Marcus Maye. The Jets have now made back-to-back defensive picks after spending each of their first four choices on offensive contributors.

North Carolina’s Carter, chosen with the second pick of Saturday’s proceedings, took to Twitter to comment on the familiar name.

The Jets’ next pick will come at No. 175 overall after executing their second trade-down of the day, this time with the Kansas City Chiefs, who sent over picks 175 and 207 for 162 and 226.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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