In less than two weeks the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles will pick 32nd overall in the first round of the NFL Draft. If the past is any indication of the future, the masterful deal maker general manager Howie Roseman is sure to have a few tricks up his sleeve. Predicting what he may pull off is anyone’s guess. There are a number of different directions the front office could go in. Barring a trade out of the 32nd overall slot, or an unexpected prospect falling to them, Georgia running back Sony Michel would be an absolute steal.
The 5’11”, 220 pound Michel has incredible acceleration through the line of scrimmage. He runs with intensity and aggression shedding first contact with a tendency to fall forward for extra yardage. He’s decisive when he sees the hole, with an innate ability to plant his foot and take off. He’s an excellent pass catcher that runs superb routes out of the backfield. He creates separation through clean breaks and beats linebackers with his athleticism. He’s an advanced blocker in pass protection as well. Michel is a constant threat to take it to the house on any given play. He combines a dynamic skill set with the ability to run, catch, and block effectively. There’s no doubt he has all the intangibles to thrive at the next level.
Michel arrived in Athens, GA his freshman year when then starting running back Todd Gurley reigned supreme. In 2015, it was expected that Nick Chubb would take over where Gurley left off. Chubb suffered a devastating knee injury that opened the door for Michel to burst onto the scene. Michel won the team offensive MVP award that year, rushing for 1,161 yards and catching 26 passes.
Following Chubb’s return, Michel split carries for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. In total, Michel amassed 3,613 yards and 39 touchdowns in his four years in Georgia. As a senior, he averaged a ridiculous 7.9 yards per carry.
It’s interesting to note that Georgia has a rich history of producing star NFL running backs. Herschel Walker, Rodney Hampton, Garrison Hearst, Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, and Gurley are all big-time names that come to mind.
The Eagles lost LeGarrette Blount to free agency. Jay Ajayi is a free agent after next season and will likely command a high price tag. Philadelphia may be leery of investing a high dollar amount in a back with a history of knee injuries.
The Eagles do have Corey Clement who sprung into action last year and will have a significant role next season. Donnel Pumphrey and Wendell Smallwood will also be in the mix for a roster spot as well.
Allocating a first-round draft choice on a running back means the Eagles will need to feel confident that whoever they select can be the leader of their backfield moving forward. Michel has all the makings of an upper-echelon running back with the type of dynamic skill set and raw athleticism necessary to perform as a premier back at the next level.
Drafting Michel provides the Eagles with a long-term solution at running back. It also fills an immediate void left by Blount’s departure on a team that is gearing up to make back-to-back runs at the Lombardi Trophy.
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