michael carter
Syndication: The Record

The Jets offensive coordinator has a glowing review of his rookie running back.

Michael Carter has exceeded expectations as a fourth-round draft pick.

The rookie Jets running back is proving to be a dynamic weapon both on the ground and through the air. He’s been a tremendous asset for a developing rookie quarterback in Zach Wilson and a young offensive unit as a whole.

Carter is already maturing this early in his career, to the point where offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, in regard to the mental side of the game, doesn’t perceive him as much of a rookie.

“From a mental standpoint, or just an everyday approach, for being a rookie, the rookie wall is real whether people want to admit it or not, it just happens at different times. And sometimes, you can tell a little bit more than others. This dude, it’s like his sixth year in the NFL,” LaFleur told Brian Costello of the New York Post and the rest of the media Thursday. “Every day is the same for him, he’s constant, he’s a professional, he brings energy, he brings juice, he’s a leader.

“And I told him, I think last week, like, ‘If you want to lead, you got something to say, say it now. Don’t wait. You don’t have to wait until year two, year three. Your actions speak for who you are as a player and as a teammate. So if you’ve got something to say to the offense, to the team, it’s yours man. And take the keys to it.’ So, that’s what’s been really cool, he doesn’t conduct himself like a normal rookie. And the players really respect him, and obviously his play backs that up.”

Carter has swiftly become the most talented running back on this Jets roster and is likely to be atop the depth chart entering the 2022 campaign. He’s currently the team’s top rusher with 566 yards on the ground and is fourth in receptions with 35.

The selection of Carter is another reason why Joe Douglas is the right man for the general manager job despite the team’s 4-11 record. Carter’s acquisition in the fourth round after he was first-team All-ACC and an AP third-team All-American in 2020 can certainly be deemed a “steal.”

Expect the former North Carolina Tar Heel to continue being an integral part of this offense for at least the next few years.

Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY

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