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Michael Carter II’s ascension is a silver lining that should excite Jets fans

Michael Carter II, NY Jets, Stats, PFF Grade, Draft, Duke
Michael Carter II, New York Jets, Getty Images

Michael Carter II is establishing himself as a core piece

Pick a Michael Carter, any Michael Carter!

Whether you’re talking about the running back or the cornerback, it has been a great rookie season for the New York Jets‘ Michael Carter.

In the case of Michael Carter II – the fifth-round slot cornerback whose suffix helps us differentiate the two rookies – the Duke product continues to be one of the few silver linings for a Jets defense that is playing some of the worst football in franchise history.

Strictly manning the slot for the Jets this season (Carter II has played outside cornerback on only two of his 426 defensive snaps), Carter II has been frequently challenged by opponents but is doing a good job of answering the call and preventing big plays.

Giving up 319 yards on 31 completions, Carter II has allowed 10.3 yards per reception this season, which ranks at the 76th percentile among qualified cornerbacks.

Only 14 of the 31 passes completed against Carter II’s coverage went for a conversion (first down or touchdown). That is a rate of 45.2%, which is strong. For reference, 53.7% of all passes completed league-wide this season have gone for a conversion.

Keeping the ball out of the end zone has been a large part of Carter II’s appeal thus far.

Carter II has covered on 267 snaps this season and is yet to allow a touchdown pass into his coverage. That gives him the sixth-most coverage snaps without a touchdown among cornerbacks through Week 10.

  1. Tre’Davious White (368)
    2. Casey Heyward (347)
    3. Nate Hobbs (322)
    4. Taron Johnson (312)
    5. Denzel Ward (295)
    6. Michael Carter II (267)

Run defense has also been a positive for Carter II. He is one of the only players on the team who is consistently executing his role against the run.

Carter II is tied for eighth among cornerbacks with five run stops (tackles on plays that constitute a poor result for the offense) and ranks fifth with 15 total tackles against the run.

When you re-watch the Jets’ run defense in search of culprits for missed opportunities, do not expect to see Carter II often. He has only missed one tackle against the run this season. That gives him a missed tackle rate of 6.3% as a run defender, which is sixth-best out of the 25 cornerbacks with at least 10 total tackles against the run.

Carter II’s good tackling extends into the passing game. He has 28 tackles and just two missed tackles against the pass, giving him a similarly excellent missed tackle rate of 6.7% in that phase. That places him at the 74th percentile among qualified cornerbacks.

Topping it all off, Carter II has shown a nose for playmaking even if he has yet to record his first interception.

Carter II has four pass breakups, three tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries, and a quarterback hit. The Jets have used him fairly often as a blitzer: he is tied for seventh among cornerbacks with 19 pass-rush snaps and has produced three pressures.

There isn’t much going right for the Jets’ defense right now, but fans should at least feel confident that their team has found its long-term slot cornerback.

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2 years ago

He certainly has shown he belongs. The slot isn’t easy, I also think Guidry is sold there as well. I hope he can continue to play well. He’s exceeded expectations. They need some top flight playmakers in the CB room though. Hall and Echols aren’t the answer.

2 years ago

For a rookie MC2 has exceeded all expectations. Glad to see our young defense is looking promising