Value At Running Back

March 30th, 2021

North Carolina RB Michael Carter.

Joe would jump with both feet into the deep end of the draft pool if Travis Etienne is sitting there at No. 32 for the Bucs next month.

Joe believes, just based on recent NFL draft history, that teams get good value picking a running back late in the first round or very early in the second. So this is why Joe is all over Etienne — aside from the fact he is just damn good.

One reason Joe craves a running back is that Ronald Jones is in the final year of his contract. Who knows if he returns or even wants to in 2022? And Joe does not expect Playoff Lenny to be around in 2022.

Joe also hears the cries from readers for pass rush depth, linebacker depth and maybe even an offensive lineman (speaking of contracts, center Ryan Jensen is in the final year of his current deal, as well). So OK, for the sake of this story, Joe will concede No. 32 to a position outside of running back.

In this year’s draft, there seems to be running back value in the mid-rounds. North Carolina’s Javonte Williams gets a lot of run as a possible high second-round draft pick. But today, Joe is going to focus on his teammate, Michael Carter.

Joe loves Carter’s running style. Smooth but physical, and damn if he isn’t sweet reading blocks and hitting the hole.

Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network wrote the following about Carter, who also is good at catching.

How do I explain Michael Carter’s running style? It’s almost like he floats. Carter’s style is one of constant movement and energy. He’s super smooth with how he connects different movements, allowing him to stack jump cuts and direction changes with relative ease. He’s an extremely agile, elusive runner, and that’s at the forefront on his tape.

On top of his impressive agility, Carter also has solid explosiveness upfield. His explosiveness profile is actually fairly similar to that of Javonte Williams. Carter isn’t much faster — he likely runs a high 4.4 to low 4.5 — but he still gears up quickly once he has a window, and he can also accelerate when turning runs outside. His burst allows him to get into space, where he can then use his agility to make single defenders miss.

One of the best things about Carter’s game, even beyond his jittery running style, is his natural receiving ability. Williams may have produced more than Carter as a receiver, but Carter shows some serious flashes of instinct as a receiver. He’s able to take catches out of the backfield as well as run routes in the short-range. In several instances, Carter used his lateral quickness to create separation at his route stems. Not all running backs have that understanding or that ability, and it adds to Carter’s versatility.

Oh, and by the way, Carter is a return guy, too.

Combine his speed and his production, and the way he reads blocks and plays much more physical than his size, perhaps Carter would be a guy the Bucs look at in the third round?

28 Responses to “Value At Running Back”

  1. SOEbuc Says:

    You forgot CB that this person is crying for. We have NO depth at CB and Carlton Davis is also in a contract year. I’d be down for Jaelen Phillips to sit under JPP for a year. If it’s a depth draft than Bucs I really don’t see Licht sitting at 32. He’s the type that might trade out of that situation from what I’ve seen prior.

    The call for a RB first is brain dead. Bucs were #30 on run/pass ratio with two proven backs! Tom was just warming up with these receivers.

  2. Joe Says:

    We have NO depth at CB


    Seems that is one of the deepest positions on the Bucs. You have three guys who could/do start. And in a pinch, Mike Edwards could play corner (though that’s more of an emergency situation.)

  3. Buczilla Says:

    I’d love to get an edge rusher or dt at 32 but if there is a running back available that is higher on our board, I’m cool with that too. Licht has been fantastic recently and I trust him to make a good decision. 32 is also a good spot to fleece some team of their second and third round pick if they want to trade up for our pick.

  4. SOEbuc Says:

    “ And in a pinch, Mike Edwards could play corner (though that’s more of an emergency situation.”

    That statement shows we need CB and S help.

    Carlton Davis
    Herb Miller???

    Weinfield Jr
    Javon Hagen???

  5. cmurda Says:

    CB? No way. Licht went hardcore on the secondary and knocked it out of the park in 2018 & 2019. Maybe a CB late in the draft. How many safeties do you want on the team? If Etienne is there at #32 you pounce. He’s the BPA and believe it or not, we aren’t drafting for need.

  6. NCFlorIdiot Says:

    He looks slick man, be fun to watch him do that in pewter and red! 3rd rounder, no complaints from me.

  7. Gencoimports Says:

    The Bucs need a natural RB receiver more than they need another CB (but they can address that in a later round)

  8. MarkR Says:

    Mike Carter is a flashy RB but he plays too small to be of significant use other than as a returner. He is not very good at the point of contact and has shown serious deficiencies as a pass blocker. Tom will never use him on third downs. We can pick up a pass-catching running back easily in 2022, and anyway, shouldn’t we be concentrating on this year? We could REALLY use another edge rusher on passing downs.

  9. Bruce Blahak Says:

    Front 7 needs some youth. DE, OLB first 2 picks maybe.

  10. TBSwarm Says:

    I think you have to go OLine or DLine. Look what happens when you don’t have good backups on the OLine …

    Suh is probably gone next year. Unfortunately, you probably wont get a Suh like player that late in the first

  11. adam from ny Says:

    the kid is shifty AF

  12. Leighroy Says:

    I think a lot of teams would kill to be 3-deep at CB like the Bucs are. Ask the packers for example, who had to throw 6-mill at King (remember him? The guy burnt by scooter before HT) to be their #2!

    You don’t spend a #1 on your 4th string CB.

  13. Buc50 Says:

    I would be quite ok if the Bucs drafted Etienne.

  14. Bird Says:

    Guys. The problem is this is one of the worst dline classes in a long time. Not much difference in guys to be had in end of first to end of third rounds
    I have no problem with running back in 2, 3 or 4
    Especially one that can catch and pass block

    Rojo and lenny free agents next year. Sure we can bring in or resign free agent. Why not draft our own stud

  15. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    If Michael Carter is available between the 4-7 round, I am all for it, but we need to focus on our Defensive line in the early rounds. While there are a few backups for the Bucs, they are not going to replace JPP and Suh next year. We need to start grooming now and have a few quality backup incase of injuries.

  16. Cobraboy Says:

    I’d be OK with either Carolina RB…

  17. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Baldy needs to upgrade his audio.
    It’s like listening to AM radio in 1971.

    Etienne, hell yes if he’s there.
    Otherwise OL or DL.

  18. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    “Return guy” really got my attention. Until I got to that part in the article, I was like, no, no, no – Not with Lombardi Lenny coming back, Rojo in a contract year and existing depth with Vaughn. But, as Harry has said repeatedly, our only NEED is KR.

    1st rd EDGE
    2nd rd Oline
    3rd rd KR

    es perfecto!!!!

  19. Mike Honcho Says:

    I like how Carter looks. Fluid moves, reads blocks well, shifty, and if he was there in the 4th I’d say go get him. But I think rounds 1-3 should be for Edge, DL or OL and if we could get Dickerson or Humphrey in the 3rd round to be the heir apparent at Center, you take them.

  20. Oneilbuc Says:

    Kyle Trask the defensive line position is not good this year . It all depends on who falls to 32. But Kyle Trask should be the pick at least in the second round.

  21. SKBucsFan Says:

    How about an Edge or OL. Ask the Chiefs how important depth in those positions are in your final game of the year.

  22. PSL Bob Says:

    I’d go for O-line depth in the first and/or second round. Love this Carter kid as a 3rd round selection. His cuts are unbelievable.

  23. Brandon Says:

    Those that think we lack depth in the secondary just gave yourselves a big L.

    We have three safeties that could start for almost any team in the NFL and three CBs that would start for any team in the NFL. We are deep and young in the defensive backfield.

  24. Bucanero Says:

    No need for a back in the draft. It can be done next draft after whatever happens with Rojo and Lenny. It is more important to go for O-line and D-line.

  25. SOEbuc Says:

    Trask has a weak arm and had amazing receivers at UF. Not touching him with a ten foot pole. Sorry Gator fans.

    “You don’t spend a #1 on your 4th string CB”. No one said anything about first pick, just how bone head an idea of RB is.

    In a pass happy league, God knows we need another RB early in two straight drafts on a team that is two spots away from last on run/pass ratio. Great insight guys. Cockrell was decent. Adams is no good at S. That depth is already gone.

    If it is a “depth draft “, then I’ll let Licht do whatever he wants. I say trade out of 32, but if not I’d say an Edge to sit under JPP in his 2021 contract year. I like Jaelen Phillips or Ronnie Perkins late first, early to mid second.

    We do know that the Bucs have met with UCLA RB/WR Demetric Felton at the senior bowl and on zoom. That’s good all around depth and solid return game and won’t cost us out #1 pick.

  26. K2 Says:

    There are 3 or 4 RBs that I would love to see on the Team! I agree Carter is one of them. The problem is once they start going off the board teams…there will be a run on RBs.

  27. Anonymous Says:

    Edge, RB and C/G in that order for day 1 and 2.

    I wouldn’t mind trading down a few positions from #32 if we could some how end up with 2 mid to high second round picks and a high 3rd. Miami might be a good partner to discuss a trade with for this.

  28. Mike Says:

    I don’t watch college football and have never seen any tape on this RB other than that one clip above, but he immediately reminded me of Warrick Dunn.