Running back James Robinson became a key cog on the Jacksonville Jaguars offense’ in 2020. If they want to avoid overworking him, they will need to acquire a good backup and the draft will offer few interesting options, including Michael Carter of North Carolina.
The 2020 First-Team All-ACC received an invitation to the Reese’s Senior Bowl and he’s getting positive reviews. Matt Miller of The Draft Scout says it’s difficult for running backs to stand out in the event, but Carter is doing precisely that. He also ranked him as the fourth-best running back behind Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, and Javonte Williams. Moreover, Jacob Infante of Draft Wire considers Miller a winner of the first half of Day 3 of the Senior Bowl practices.
In his last two seasons at North Carolina, Carter racked up 333 carries for 2,248 yards and 12 touchdowns. He averaged a monster 8.0 yards per carry in his senior year and also hauled in 25 receptions for 267 yards and two touchdowns in 2020. In a conversation with Andrew Siciliano and Bucky Brooks of NFL Media, the Florida native said he hopes he can show scouts he’s versatile and loves football.
The Jacksonville Jaguars could target Carter late in the second round.
Robinson had a historical rookie campaign but missed the last two games of the 2020 season with an ankle injury. Although Dare Ogunbawale did an adequate job substituting for the Illinois State standout, the Jaguars have the resources to give their running back room a boost.
While drafting a running back in the first round or early in the second may be out of the question, Carter should be available late in the second round or early in the third. The Jacksonville could use the 44th overall selection or their third-round pick on the Tar Heels running back.
The Jaguars could also sign a running back in free agency, but targeting Carter makes sense if they opt to use their salary cap on other position groups. Regardless of the path they take, they need to bring in a running back to back up Robinson and Carter will be one of the best ones in the draft.