Sony Michel, RB
School: Georgia | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 5-11 / 215 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 2nd Round or 3rd Round
NFL Comparison: Kenyan Drake
Sony Michel was a 5-star recruit coming out of Plantation, Florida and chose to attend Georgia over the top football schools in Florida (Florida State, Florida, Miami). Michel was in the same recruiting class as his counterpart Nick Chubb and actually committed to Georgia two months earlier than Chubb did. When Michel got to Athens, Georgia - both Chubb and Todd Gurley were in the backfield with him. We know Gurley’s story - in 2014 he was suspended for taking money and shortly after he returned he tore his ACL. He went on to have one of the best rookie years in NFL history when he was drafted by the Rams and is still one of the NFL’s top backs. Chubb took over running duties in Gurley’s absence and had an exceptional year for Georgia as the lead back - the year after he suffered an ACL injury of his own in 2015. After that point and since 2016, Chubb and Michel have shared rushing duties both being highly productive but with Chubb overwhelmingly getting the spotlight at times. Chubb will get his profile and his contributions and production as a running back deserve to be highlighted and he too should make a fine NFL running back. However, I believe, Sony Michel is better.
Michel has rushed for over 1,000 yards twice during his time at Georgia despite splitting time with Chubb and he may have done it a third time had he not missed a game in 2016. Michel is an explosive back with excellent vision, decisiveness, burst, lateral movement, and power. He has the speed that allows him to get to the edge and turn corners for big gains, he is shifty and can eek out tough yards as an interior rusher, and he has a solid build that is deceptively powerful that allows him to drag defenders and fall forward. Michel fits the new prototype of NFL feature backs. Guys who are well built and proportioned, who are patient and decisive, and have the speed and athleticism to produce big plays on the edge and bang inside as well. Michel’s skills as a receiver should not be overlooked as well despite Georgia not heavily involving the running backs in the passing game. Michel is also a 3 down back with his ability to stay in and pass protect. As the draft process unfolds I think we will see opinions on who is the next best back after Saquon Barkley blur. Michel will find himself in the conversation.
- Well built with excellent speed, athleticism, and vision for the position.
- Dynamic player who is durable enough to bang inside between the guards and has the burst and lateral movement to turn one upfield off the edge. Tough and will lower his head and take on defenders in his way.
- Plays with great balance and gets a lot of yards because his legs never stop moving and he wins the center of gravity battle.
- Patience, shifty, elusive with great change of direction ability behind the LOS and in the open field. Knows the distance between two points is shortest when following a straight line - doesn't waste time and effort dancing picks his route and gets upfield.
- Stands tough and square in pass protection and aims to take out threats to his QB.
- Must protect the ball has at least 9 fumbles over the course of his college career.
- Naturally straightens up from his low stance once he clears the first wave of the defense and gets to the open field. Saw a few plays where he tripped over his own feet doing so - not sure what to make of that?
Let’s see his work:
If you give Sony Michel this type of hole, he will make you pay. Why winning the line of scrimmage is so important pic.twitter.com/kFQwDB0rso— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) February 3, 2018
Sony Michel. Look at the quick adjustment to the lineman's block. pic.twitter.com/1tOMKerE9T— Grant Sinning (@grantsinning) January 27, 2018
Ronald Jones, Saquon Barkley and Kerryon Johnson all rank among the top-5 best in this class in fumble rate. Meanwhile, Sony Michel is second-worst.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) February 12, 2018
Here are all the fumble rates for this crop of RB prospects: https://t.co/7WpXR3ENJX
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
As some member comments on past running back profiles have eluded to I really hope the Redskins aren’t limiting their running back options to power guys over 220 lbs. Not only would that exclude some of the vest best talent at the position in this draft it would be unwise and incredibly simpleminded. Michel thrived this past year with improved offensive line play at Georgia and with his running style and abilities I have no doubt he would fit into a power scheme as well as be able to execute some of the other concepts Gruden has seemed to be looking for over the past few years. Michel has the potential to be a feature back but would also compliment the other backs on the roster so well and would make the unit more dynamic and could flourish in yet another timeshare situation in my opinion. In terms of size, Michel fits nicely in the middle between Thompson and Perine and offers a happy medium of their best skills at arguably a higher level. Michel would be the best athlete at the position with top-notch vision and really allow the opportunity for those big chunk plays the Redskins have been missing. Michel has also recently been compared to Kareem Hunt and whether you agree or not he certainly should make life easier for Alex Smith with his skill set. As I mentioned in the overview I’m not sure Michel makes it too deep into the second round and I think after the combine he has a shot to go in the first. If he does make it to the Redskins second rounder I hope the team seriously considers him.