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Scouting the 2018 NFL Draft - Sony Michel, RB, Georgia

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NCAA Football: Georgia at Georgia Tech Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Running back is getting a lot of hype as perhaps the draft’s deepest position. One of the headliners is former Georgia Bulldog Sony Michel. Does he have the tools to be one of this year’s Alvin Kamaras or Kareem Hunts?

Personal/Physical

Born: February 17, 1995 (age 23 on draft day)

Hometown: Orlando, FL

Height: 5’11

Weight: 216

Career Stats

2014: 8 games, 64 rushes, 410 yards, 6.4 Y/A, 5 TD, 7 receptions, 106 yards, 1 TD

2015: 13 games, 218 rushes, 1136 yards, 5.2 Y/A, 8 TD, 26 receptions, 270 yards, 3 TD

2016: 12 games, 152 rushes, 840 yards, 5.5 Y/A, 4 TD, 22 receptions, 149 yards, 1 TD

2017: 14 games, 156 rushes, 1227 yards, 7.9 Y/A, 16 TD, 9 receptions, 96 yards, 1 TD

Positives

  • Great power finisher, will put his head down and truck defenders with ease for extra yardage
  • Balanced and tough to bring down
  • Good vision and patience, great at picking out the best holes up the middle
  • A force between the tackles
  • Runs through arm tackles with ease, doesn’t get tripped up often
  • Might not have that special lightning quick juke-out change of direction, but does have very solid short area quickness to shift into the right openings, and knows exactly when to use it
  • Aggressive in pass protection

Negatives

  • Not necessarily a negative, but Georgia’s offensive line was opening up some massive holes at times
  • Might lack game-changing breakaway speed
  • Rarely looks to bounce the ball outside
  • Was a limited factor as a receiver

Film

Michel does a lot of different things well. This play displays many of them. First the bone-crushing truck, then the vision to see the room he has up the sideline, and a quick change of direction to get there.

I thought Michel showed himself to be a tremendous downhill, power runner. Here is just one example of many where he churns out way more yardage than he should be getting.

He’s not just a power guy. Here he makes the instinctive decision to cut this ball outside, quickly cutting upfield and then using his burst to evade the initial tacklers, and his balance to tiptoe the sideline for more yards.

Just get lower than your opponent, keep those feet moving and convert a crucial 3rd & 7 in the 4th quarter of the National Championship.

I really liked the patience and anticipation displayed by Sony on this play. Initially a hole looks to be opened between the center and right guard, which seemed to be the designed direction of the play. While that hole looks huge, the weakside linebacker recognized it and was actually going to be right there for that play. Instead Michel turns the ball upfield and anticipates the hole that is about to open up, squeaking through the small window for another long first down conversion.

I thought Michel flashed the potential to be relied upon as a pass protector. He seemed consistently aggressive and willing when put in the position. Here’s one example of a tough, well executed block.

The line does a good job carving out a huge hole here against a defense that plays it pretty poorly, but I once again loved the patience. It’s a big hole, but it’s really the only one, and it wasn’t there once he took the handoff. Michel hesitates a bit (in a good way) once he takes the ball as he awaits the opening, and then takes off. Plus, he finishes with some excellent balance to complete the score.

My only question about this play is, did Michel showcase a lack of elite speed? The defenders gain on him quickly at the end of this one.

Other GGN Views:

Matt (GangGreenMag): “I love Sony. Besides Penny, he is my favorite back coming out this year. If you are a fan of what Kamara did, you will love Sony. He is elusive and I tough. I don’t think there is anyone else in this draft I would trust handing the ball off to on 3rd and long or 3rd and medium.”

Draft Grade: Second Round

I’m of the belief that the skill positions are best saved for the later rounds of the draft unless you have a dire need at the position. The Jets are in that boat right now. In terms of the RB position, while it is far from a terrorizing stable of monsters, their combo of Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire is solid enough to where fixing it isn’t a pressing issue. Powell has been consistently efficient and McGuire showcased a good amount of promise. Still, they could use as much playmaking as possible. In a deep class, the mid-round RB could be in their future.

Michel didn’t showcase the unreal athleticism that would make him worthy of a first-round selection the same way someone like Saquon Barkley might be. With that being said, I’d be all over Michel in the second round. He plays the position very well, mixing in lots of promising attributes. He finishes with power, shows patience, selects the right holes, and has nice change of direction to boot. I think Michel would be a solid addition for the Jets in round two.

Poll

What draft grade would you give Sony Michel?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Upper First Round
    (4 votes)
  • 10%
    Lower First Round
    (46 votes)
  • 67%
    Second Round
    (294 votes)
  • 20%
    Third Round
    (88 votes)
  • 0%
    Fourth Round
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Lower than fourth
    (2 votes)
438 votes total Vote Now