We recently investigated what the likely level of production could be for Elijah Moore in his rookie season, based on how other Jets' rookies have fared in the past 25 years.
Let's now attempt to do the same for Michael Carter, who the Jets drafted early on in the fourth round.
The Jets have drafted seven tailbacks in the top four rounds in the past 25 years with, as you'd expect, mixed results.
Success stories include Leon Washington and Shonn Greene. Washington racked up over 900 yards from scrimmage and Greene stepped up late in the year to end up with 540 rushing yards, then racked up over 300 more in the postseason. Also, LaMont Jordan was just a backup but registered an impressive 7.5 yards per carry.
At the other end of the scale, Bilal Powell was inactive for most of his rookie season and when he did play he had just 21 yards and a goal line fumble on 13 carries. Joe McKnight had a similarly unproductive rookie year with just seven carries entering the last game, but then he racked up 158 yards in the final game of the season. Leon Johnson also had a rough rookie year as he averaged just 3.3 yards per carry. All three of these were much better in their second season.
The only other name not mentioned yet is La'Mical Perine, who definitely had a disappointing rookie year with a 3.6 yards per carry average. He will be hoping to have a year two similar to the likes of Powell, McKnight and Johnson. Then again, he's going to be competing with Carter for playing time.
On balance, you could say it's about 50:50 as to whether a running back drafted by the Jets in the top four rounds will have a satisfactory rookie performance but it's certainly not out of the question for a fourth round rookie running back to have a productive season.
In 2020, seven rookie backs rushed for over 500 yards, proving that it can be done. However, although Carter was the fifth running back selected in 2021, six of those seven backs were actually drafted higher than he was. The lone exception was the undrafted James Robinson.
There's not much standing in the way of Carter being able to get a ton of touches this year in terms of established players ahead of him on the depth chart. However, he needs a bit of seasoning in the passing game, so that might keep him off the field while he develops.
In addition to Perine, the likes of Ty Johnson, Josh Adams and Tevin Coleman stand in Carter's way and the team did just add Austin Walter, who the current coaching staff are familiar with.
Hopefully, the Jets will have an offensive line that makes it possible for multiple backs to be productive in 2021. It's up to Carter to make sure he's one of the ones getting chances.