With the Denver Broncos releasing veteran running back C.J. Anderson yesterday, their running back stable is rather bare with just Devontae Booker and De’Angelo Henderson of note in their backfield. Given the lack of depth at the position, it seems likely to me that the franchise will target a running back early in this year’s draft that has a very good crop of prospects. Georgia’s Sony Michel is one of the best in the class and would provide the Broncos with a big play threat and future workhorse at the position if acquired.
I can’t stop watching RB Sony Michel. He’s my third best RB behind Barkley and Guice. If all studs are gone I pick Michel at 1.28. pic.twitter.com/xRkHH3LuSk— Steel Legends (@Steel_Legends) April 9, 2018
For the past several years, Michel and Nick Chubb have formed college football’s best running back duo for the Bulldogs, routinely bulldozing and blowing through opposing defenses with ease. A former five-star recruit in high school, Michel saved his best for last, rushing for 1,227 yards on 156 carries (nearly 8 yards per carry) and sixteen touchdowns as a senior while only starting two contests. Over the course of his four year collegiate career, he amassed 3,616 yards on 590 carries and scored 31 rushing touchdowns, as well as adding 621 yards receiving on 64 receptions and six scores in that regard. In the words of John Fox, “Not too shabby!” for a player who split carries all of those years.
The Broncos have had success drafting running backs from the Bulldogs (Terrell Davis and Knowshon Moreno) in the past and Michel could be the next big thing to come from the University of Georgia. Let’s take a deeper look at Michel as a prospect and why he would be an excellent addition to the Broncos’ backfield.
Sony Michel, Senior, RB — University of Georgia
Height: 5’11” Weight: 220 lbs
Arm Length: 31 1/4” Hands: 9 1/8”
40-Yard Dash: 4.54 seconds Bench Press: 22 reps Vertical Jump: N/A
Hart’s Scouting Report on Sony Michel
Michel has the prototypical size for an NFL running back and ability to be a bell-cow back for any team in the league, despite being part of a duo at Georgia. He is a well-respected prospect who was a leader with the Bulldogs and team captain for the past two years. Fits a big need for the Broncos, as he is a physical north-south runner who rarely leaves yardage left on the field and is tough to bring down. Displays great patience as a runner and has the know-how to allow his blocks and the play to develop in front of him. Big play threat who had four multi-touchdown games, with a majority of his touchdowns on runs longer than 15 yards his senior season. Creative runner with the ability to improvise and make something out of nothing. Arguably the most fundamentally sound running back in regard to pass protection in this year’s class.
Sony Michel was one half of the toughest running back duo to tackle in 2017 pic.twitter.com/DBYVk6tYS7— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) April 12, 2018
Michel’s biggest red flag is his alarmingly high fumble rate, putting the ball on the ground once every 55 touches. While he isn’t a product of a great scheme, he is a beneficiary of a Bulldog offensive line that regularly opened up immense rushing lanes for the offense. Only possesses above-average athleticism for the position and doesn’t have a breakaway second gear teams covet at the position, but plays faster than his 40 yard dash indicates. Flashes potential as a receiver out of the backfield, but needs to haul in receptions more cleanly and develop a better feel as a catcher. Past injuries (ankle in college, torn ACL in high school) may be a bit of a concern.
Does Georgia running back Sony Michel make sense for the Broncos?
I believe Michel would be a tremendous selection for the Broncos, but they would have to use their second round pick to obtain his services. As mentioned earlier in the article, the Broncos’ depth at the running back is a cause for concern. There’s absolutely no way they enter training camp with only Booker and Henderson as viable options on their roster and I believe the team will look to address the position somewhere on the draft’s second day where they currently have three selections.
Some reports that the #Broncos will wait until Day 3 to address the RB situation. Entirely plausible, but if a run happens, they will miss out on the best guys. They tried to move up for Dalvin Cook last year, so if they really love a prospect at the position, I expect a move.— Christopher Hart (@topherhart) April 17, 2018
Michel’s breakout senior campaign and wealth of positive traits will make him a highly-coveted back in this year’s class. However, he may slip a bit due to his penchant for putting the ball on the ground, which is the biggest cardinal sin a running back can make in the league. That being said, his prowess as a physical north-south runner who can gain the tough yards and convert on red zone situations would be a tremendous asset for the team and help fill a void created with Anderson’s release.