NY Jets: Michael Carter II has inside track to starting slot CB job

NY Jets, Michael Carter II
NY Jets, Michael Carter II / James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets are expected to receive plenty of early contributions from their 2021 NFL Draft class, and one such player who could contribute early is fifth-round pick Michael Carter II.

In a draft class featuring the likes of Zach Wilson, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Elijah Moore, and even his namesake Michael Carter, Carter II has flown under the radar so far this offseason.

But don't be surprise if he's a starter on defense come Week 1.

Carter has been running primarily with the first-team offense and appears to be in-line to start at slot cornerback for the Jets, perhaps as soon as the start of the season.

Michael Carter II might be starting for the NY Jets early in 2021.

The Jets opened OTAs with the duo of Javelin Guidry and Elijah Campbell splitting reps at nickel corner in the first-team defense. But it wasn't long before Carter found his way into the mix.

And not even a full week later, the rookie out of Duke had already taken over the majority of the first-team reps.

A fifth-round pick in this year's draft, Carter was one of six defensive players the Jets added on Day 3 of the draft. The Georgia native was a versatile defensive back in college playing both cornerback and safety.

And while the attention has understandably been on a number of other rookies this spring, Carter is not someone who should be overlooked. In fact, the Jets might be more excited about him than any other rookie.

Don't take my word for it, though. Connor Hughes of The Athletic said the same thing while singing Carter's praises last week.

"The Jets were thrilled to get Wilson and Vera-Tucker, and couldn’t believe Moore was waiting for them in the second round. The player they’re most excited about, though: DB Michael Carter. The Jets had a very, very high grade on him, believing their scheme would perfectly accentuate his versatility and athleticism, while his personality and leadership blossomed in the locker room."

Connor Hughes, on Michael Carter II

The Jets are sky-high on Carter and see him as a perfect fit in new head coach Robert Saleh's defense. And perhaps their high opinion of Carter is part of the reason behind their hesitance to bring in a veteran at the position.

Brian Poole, the Jets' best cornerback over the last two years, remains a free agent despite the fact that he's played like a top-five nickel corner since joining the Jets in 2019.

But the Jets are clearly content with the group of cornerbacks they have now, and Carter is likely a big reason for that.

He isn't the first player you think of when discussing which Jets rookies could make an impact in year one. In reality, he likely isn't the second, third, or even fourth.

Next. NY Jets: 5 players whose stock is on the rise following OTAs. dark

But Michael Carter appears well on his way to being a Week 1 starter.