Post Draft Scouting Report: Sony Michel, RB

Michel is going to be a dangerous weapon in the Patriots offense.

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

I think most Patriots fans would agree that Sony Michel is a very good football player. I also think that most Patriots fans were shocked when they drafted him with the 31st pick of the 1st round last Thursday night. So, why would the Patriots take a player at a position that seemed to have as good of depth as any other position on the team. That is what we are here to explore.



 

Positives:

Michel identifies the hole quickly and shows great acceleration to get through it. He has good size for position and could be workhorse type back if asked to be despite being part of committee during college. He has a good combination of power and elusiveness. He will punish defenders who underestimate his running power and will fight for every yard on every carry. Michel plays with excellent balance and has an uncanny ability to change direction without stopping his feet and momentum. Michel is one of the better, if not best Runningback’s in this class in regards to his pass protection skills. Michel was criminally underused as a pass catcher. The Patriots will be able to swing him out to Receiver because he has developed his route running skills while at Georgia. He has soft natural hands and has a chance to catch a lot of balls in this offense. Michel was a two year captain and a team first player. Michel is said to be a high character guy and should be a very good addition to the locker room. Michel put up very good production (ranks 3rd all time in rushing and all purpose yards in school history) despite playing in a committee.

Negatives:

The obvious area of concern with Michel is ball security. This has been well documented since the pick was made and it will be something Michel must improve on. Another concern is his medical history and his long term outlook. He has dealt with a laundry list of injuries (ankle, left knee sprain, broken arm, groin, broken hand, shoulder sprain and an ACL tear in High School.) There were also reports after night one that there was a concern for some teams about his knee, but clearly the Patriots were not one of them. I would also like to see Michel improve on his patience. He can run himself into the back of his lineman because he gets too eager and does not allow the play to develop. He ran through some nice holes in college and they will get smaller in the NFL, so he has to learn to wait for things to develop. Michel does not have true home run speed and will have the occasional concentration drop in the passing game.

Overall:

Michel will come into a similar situation that he had in college. He will not be asked to be the center of the offense, but he is the one player now on the roster who has the ability to be a true three down back. He was ridiculously productive (7.9 YPC) in the SEC, so the transition to the NFL should not be a big jump. While Michel might not be a home run hitter in the NFL, he showed the ability in college to consistently gain more yards than were blocked for him, which is a trait I am always looking for. If he can stay healthy and continue to improve his ball security, he could put up ridiculous all purpose yards for the Patriots.

 

What The Tape Shows:

In this first clip, you can see his change of direction ability without having to gear down. He gets back to top speed quickly and get a chunk play despite the designed play not developing.

On this play, we see Michel run up the middle and show off his sneaky power and balance to move the pile and gain additional yards. You also see his instant acceleration to hit the hole as soon as it opens up.

On this play, you see Michel does a nice job selling the play action, getting the LB’s to suck in. He then shows a nice ability to keep his balance and adjust to a poorly thrown ball and still score with ease.

This might be my favorite play from Michel. He shows excellent patience (something that is not always the case) to let the first hole develop, then he shows great vision and balance to find the 2nd crease and drag a defender for additional yards.

Here is another play by Michel, this time as a pass catcher. The cut he makes to make the first guy miss is silly, but his ability to quickly regain his balance to shrug off the next defender was a thing of beauty. He does get caught later down field, but those two moves allowed him to gain an additional 40 yards.

 

Again, Michel has an innate ability to make defenders slide off of him. His start/stop ability is amazing and again, you see that lower leg drive and balance to get additional yards.

This shows up consistently on tape. He steps up to take on blitzers and consistently times his cut blocks perfectly to take the defender out of the play.

 

Final Thoughts:

It is hard not to get excited when you watch Michel and the possibilities he presents for the Patriots offense. He fits the system well in terms of what he can do and the mismatches he can present as a runner and a pass catcher. I wouldn’t expect him to be a 20-25 carry a game guy on a consistent basis, but I could see that my touches. We have heard the Alvin Kamara potential and I think the comparison is well warranted and I think Michel has better upside as a pure runner. I cannot wait to see Michel in a Patriots uniform and to see him making plays all over the field.

 

8 Responses to “Post Draft Scouting Report: Sony Michel, RB”

  1. brandon maxham says:

    my prediction for Michel is around 50 or 60 carries, 500 yards and 4 TDs.

    • kevinz says:

      Not sure on amount of carries or catches but could see 1100 to 1200 total yards. See him getting more work around when Lewis did last year then Sony will run with it.

  2. bbssidekick says:

    Thanks for the report mike. I like Sony quite a bit see a light version of Kamara with some Hunt. When no hole given will run into his blockers like Hunt will do. Where sony reminds me of Kamara is when he plants his foot and goes. when in space seem speed picks up when plants his foot with a subtle cut.

    • kevinz says:

      Thats a good point i seen a article comparing Sony to kamara and Hunt it was Blind Comparisons.
      Made some good points really liked it def a very nice read .

  3. Russell says:

    I like Michel a lot, but I am surprised with a 1st round pick. The Patriots O-line will need to adapt to a running game. I it will be likely we don’t see to much of Michel first 5-6 games in the regular season. So pre-season will be important for Michel.

  4. kevan says:

    Going off the reservation again nepatriotsdraft.com people, gonna be a long summer. This is bar none the best Patriots draft site there is. Thank you Mike and all the commenters for giving me the opportunity to cherry pick all your hard work. I hope my break falls right before the draft again. Type yall next year.

  5. brandon maxham says:

    I would like to see the Patriots run the ball more so Brady doesn’t have to throw it 35-40 times a game.

    I also think Sony Michel could be pretty good in his rookie year then even better his second year.

  6. kevinz says:

    I really like Sony i just dont wanna get my hopes up that he is like Kamara. Hope proven wrong i dont see the burst in Sony that i see in kamara. I hope Pats use him like kamara though so dont take as much of a Pounding. The more i watch of Sony and read reminds me of a shorter Matt Forte . I always felt Forte was overlooked because played for the Bears

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