You might be a regular reader of mine here. You might even follow me on Twitter. If you do fall under one or both of those categories, thank you so much. No seriously, thank you.
Again, if you fall under one or both of those categories, then you probably remember me expressing my frustration after the 2018 NFL Draft. Rarely do I get irritated by the Patriots during the draft, but it happened this year. I was heavily lobbying for a quarterback to be selected, a decent one who could soon be groomed into a starting quarterback in the league.
Didn’t happen though. We did get Georgia running back Sony Michel though, who, two months later, I’m now just as excited about.
Here’s why Michel’s rookie year is going to be a lot of fun. He’s going to be a pretty darn good running back in the NFL, and Bill Belichick knows it. That’s why he spent a first round draft pick on him – something that he NEVER does.
I shouldn’t say never. Belichick has drafted a running back in the first round of the draft before. You all remember Laurence Maroney, right? Some of you probably prefer to forget about him, but there’s no denying that Maroney was pretty effective in his first couple of seasons. He accumulated 745 total yards during his rookie season in 2006, then stepped it up a notch in 2007 with 835 yards as the Patriots went 16-0.
Maroney, and now Michel, are rarities for Belichick’s Patriots. Usually, he picks up his running backs after other teams have cast them off, or he’ll snag one in the later rounds of the draft, or he’ll sign one of the overlooked running backs that went undrafted. There’s a long list of those guys over the years that suited up for Belichick … Corey Dillon, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, LeGarrette Blount, Dion Lewis just to name a few.
That’s why Michel is so interesting. Belichick must really, really like him to spend a first round draft pick on him. And after seeing how he performed at Georgia, I can’t blame him. He ran for 1,227 yards on 156 carries with 16 touchdowns, not to mention, the kid has some serious moves on the field.
The best of all? In the Rose Bowl last year, Michel rushed for 181 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning touchdown in double-overtime as the Bulldogs defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 54-48. It was a gorgeous little 27-yard scamper straight to the end zone that left Baker Mayfield devastated on the opposing sideline. You can even watch the footage here, and you should. It’s a dandy.
Now, for the next three months until the 2018 season kicks off, just keep watching that clip over and over again. But imagine Michel wearing a Patriots uniform as he dashes into the end zone.
A nice little preview for the upcoming season.