*Our RB grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, leaked Wonderlic test results, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.

*We use the term “Power RB” to separate physically bigger, more between-the-tackles–capable RBs from our “speed RBs” group. “Speed RBs” are physically smaller, but much faster/quicker, and less likely to flourish between the tackles.


I was ‘shoulder shrug’ about Michael Carter leading up to and at Senior Bowl week. He looked good/fine, but the analysts were speaking of him like he was the best RB in the NFL Draft at times…I didn’t see that guy either in my preview or at the Senior Bowl. But he was solid/good.

Studying Carter deeper this week. Watching more tape, to some degree I get the enthusiasm now. I still think analysts are going way overboard on him for what he is – but it wouldn’t be draft season without 15-50 players being the greatest thing analysts have ever seen, and then them pledging allegiance to them like they are their adopted kids – we all do it, it’s part of the fun of draft season.

Point is – Michael Carter is good. He’s a legit NFL RB prospect.

How good?

Well, I just studied/watched Kenneth Gainwell’s work prior to Carter’s, and those two should be discussed together because they are very similar backs…smaller, tough for their size, scat back, nice receiving options. For scouting, I will compare Carter to Gainwell for both context and pecking order.

We’re going to have Michael Carter ranked higher than Gainwell at this stage, but his UNC Pro Day (3/29) could change things up. It’s close, but I give the nod to Carter.

Carter is that 200 +/- pound runner who will not be a three-down machine in the NFL but is a nice part of a thunder and lightning duo. Carter has good burst in the open field and terrific shiftiness at high speed. He also has very good+ hands as a receiver – reliable, trustworthy to throw to.

I’d say Carter is a bit faster than Gainwell in a 40-time, but it’s close. I think Carter has a bit more shiftiness/elusiveness than Gainwell, but it’s close. Gainwell is taller. Carter (5’7”+) is shorter but thicker. Gainwell is a likeable and a hard worker…Carter is a likeable, a hard worker, AND a ‘team captain’ type personality. People like Gainwell, but they LOVE Carter off the field…and that’s what will probably separate these two in the NFL – Carter will get more opportunity faster because of his leadership and relatability to coaches, and because he’ll be drafted higher and ‘draft stock’ is everything with NFL people.  

Watching Carter on tape – nice acceleration/stop-start ability and is elusive when he gets a head of steam going, but he can get bottled up easily running between the tackles against higher-end defenses. He’s tough enough to take the hits and keep going, but he’s not mowing over NFL DLs or LBs…you have to get him outside to be most effective. He has good hands/is comfortable in the passing game but he’s not some quasi-WR like Gainwell shows the ability to be. Carter is very nice/solid. Not bad at any aspect, besides a bit small to be a workhorse…and he’s good+ on speed, agility, strength, build, character. He’s going to be fine…and probably forgettable in a year or two.

Gainwell and Carter have some Austin Ekeler type vibes, as an upside…but I think Carter is more Boston Scott (the computer’s top comp). If so, then you know the type of RB that is – part of a duo/RBBC/3rd-down guy that has as much output as his offense/QB allows.

An NFL team is getting a solid ‘B’ or ‘C’ grade RB talent with Carter, with an ‘A’ character/leadership/relatability that gets him a nicer draft stock than maybe he should. An NFL team will not get burned with Carter. Are they getting the next star RB in Carter? I don’t think so, but let’s see what the Pro Day says to change my mind. Carter is ‘good’ across the board…there’s not much more to really say. A good talent with nice character/locker room presence…that’s a good thing for a big corporation.


Michael Carter, Through the Lens of Our RB Scouting Algorithm:

 -- 8.0 yards per carry in 2020…in 11 games.156 carries. That’s pretty impressive. 

 -- Carter had to split a lot of touches with possible ‘best RB prospect in the draft’ Javonte Williams, but when Carter got more chances, he was really terrific…

In 7 games with 15 or more carries in 2020: 17.7 carries, 139.0 rush yards, 7.8 ypc, 0.86 rush TDs per game…including a 24 carry, 308 yards rushing, 2 TDs performance against Miami at regular season’s end (Javonte had 23 carries for 236 yards and 2 TDs in that game, as UNC rushed for 550+).

 -- 6 catches opening day 2020 vs. Syracuse, and then 1.9 catches per game then rest of the season (10 games). Had an 8 catch game against Duke in 2018. 

Senior Bowl Measurements: 5’7.7”/202, 9” hands, 29.1” arms 

Pro Bowl estimates: 4.45-4.50 40-time, sub-7.00 three-cone, 17+ bench press

The Historical RB Prospects to Whom Michael Carter Most Compares Within Our System:

Kendall Hunter was a promising smaller RB prospect. He had a couple of moments in the NFL, but injuries undercut his career. Boston Scott is a really solid, small/diminutive NFL RB…he can’t get the time of day in the league – cut from multiple teams, finally stuck with Philly, and only matters when all other RBs are hurt and he’s forced to play. 

Is this Carter’s fate? The NFL odds would say ‘yes’ – this is what happens to all these guys, mostly.

RB Score










Speed Metric

Agility Metric

Power Metric



















Okl St













La Tech













Tex Tech













No Texas








*A score of 8.50+ is where we see a stronger correlation of RBs going on to become NFL good/great/elite. A score of 10.00+ is more rarefied air in our system and indicates a greater probability of becoming an elite NFL RB.

All of the RB ratings are based on a 0–10 scale, but a player can score negative, or above a 10.0 in certain instances.

Overall rating/score = A combination of several on-field performance measures, including refinement for the strength of opponents faced, mixed with all the physical measurement metrics – then compared/rated historically within our database and formulas. More of a traditional three-down search – runner, blocker, and receiver.

*RB-Re score = Our new formula/rating that attempts to identify and quantify a prospect's receiving skills even deeper than in our original formulas. RB prospects can now make it/thrive in the NFL strictly based on their receiving skills – it is an individual attribute sought out for the NFL and no longer dismissed or overlooked. Our rating combines a study of their receiving numbers in college in relation to their offense and opponents, as well as profiling size-speed-agility along with hand size measurables, etc.

*RB-Ru score =  Our new formula/rating that attempts to classify and quantify an RB prospect's ability strictly as a runner of the ball. Our rating combines a study of their rushing numbers in college in relation to their offense and strength of opponents, as well as profiling size-speed-agility along with various size measurables, etc.

Raw Speed Metric = A combination of several speed and size measurements from the NFL Combine, judged along with physical size profile, and then compared/rated historically within our database and scouting formulas. This is a rating strictly for RBs of a similar/bigger size profile.

Agility Metric = A combination of several speed and agility measurements from the NFL Combine, judged along with physical size profile, and then compared/rated historically within our database and scouting formulas. This is a rating strictly for RBs of a similar/bigger size profile.

2021 NFL Draft Outlook:

People really like Michael Carter…for some he’s their #3 RB overall in this draft (over the 10x more gifted for the pros Javonte Williams). Carter is a 4th-round talent likely hyped into the 3rd-round. 

If I were an NFL GM, I respect Carter as a solid talent…but I could’ve gotten Boston Scott for free multiple times 2-3 years ago as he was being cut and put onto practice squads. I’m not paying much of anything for any RB in the Gainwell-Carter size/ability range. 

NFL Outlook:   

Should be a solid NFL hand. How good will be determined by the offense he lands with. Most NFL offenses use guys like Carter sparingly and in spurts. Austin Ekeler is the exception not the rule.