4. Michael Carter, RB, NY Jets
When the Jets drafted Michael Carter in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, not only were they thrilled to have landed him where they did, but the team had big plans for the former North Carolina star.
He was the player they hoped would play an important role in their offense for years to come, possibly as their lead back of the future. Most even expected him to receive significant playing time early on.
But few likely expected him to emerge from OTAs as the lead back in the offense. However, that's exactly what's happened.
Carter entered OTAs splitting time with Ty Johnson while Tevin Coleman was seemingly penciled in as the primary "starter." But just two weeks later, Carter was receiving a lot of the work with the first-team offense.
Make no mistake about it, the Jets will deploy a committee approach in 2021. Right now, the likes of Carter, Coleman, and Johnson all figure to play a role in that committee with La'Mical Perine and Josh Adams currently on the outside looking in.
But the fact that Carter is receiving as many first-team reps as he already is should be a sign of things to come for the rookie running back.
The Jets have also been trying Carter as a punt returner, despite his relative lack of experience in the role. They just want to get the ball in Carter's hands as much as possible.
He's quickly made a strong first impression with the coaching staff.