The New England Patriots didn’t make any trades on Thursday and after adding Georgia offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn with the 23rd overall pick, they followed up by drafting Georgia running back Sony Michel with the 31st overall pick.
The 5’11, 214-pound Michel is a do-everything type of running back. He rushed for 3,613 rushing yards (6.1 yards per carry) and 33 rushing touchdowns over his four years and added 621 receiving yards and 7 receiving touchdowns.
Michel runs a fine-enough 4.54s 40 yard dash and rarely takes a loss. He’ll consistently grind out yardage as a runner, he’s a capable receiver, and he’s an excellent pass blocker. He’s a well-rounded player that might not have the highlights of Saquon Barkely, but should be a perfect fit in the New England offense.
According to former Patriots exec Mike Lombardi, as transcribed by Dawg Nation, Michel has some medical concerns similar to what caused Jay Ajayi to drop in the draft a few years ago. Michel battles knee, ankle, and forearm injuries while in college.
Lombardi did have high praise to sing about Michel, though.
“[Michel] is the prototypical NFL back.” Lombardi said. “He can catch the ball, he can impact the passing game. Remember how we have to evaluate running backs– it’s block, catch, run. It isn’t run, catch, block. And this kid blocks well. This kid can be impactful. I love this kid as a player.”
The Patriots already have a crowded running back room with Rex Burkhead and James White under long-term deals, Mike Gillislee and Jeremy Hill on one-year deals, and Brandon Bolden becoming the favorite person of both Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
But Michel should easily slide in front of Gillislee and Hill in the depth chart, with the latter two competing for just one roster spot.
This is the first time the Patriots have selected a running back in the first round since Laurence Maroney back in 2006; hopefully Michel has a much better career in New England.