Raiders Draft Profile: Sony Michel
Weight: 215 pounds
While Sony Michel replicates Marshawn Lynch’s size, he possesses more straight-line speed. As a result, Michel isn’t the violent runner as Lynch. However, he displays above-average one-cut ability. In addition, Michel uses his burst to shed tackles. Adding Michel to the Raiders’ backfield gives Oakland a home run threat. The Raiders need a complement to Lynch, which will assume his role in the near future.
Michel blends one-cut pop and power. He runs behinds his pads, allowing him to change the pacing of his runs with efficiency. The first defender rarely tackles him. Additionally, he fights for two to three yards after first contact. Lowering the shoulder does not bother him.
Michel shiftiness acts as an extra blocker. If a defender meets him in the house, that split second wiggle leaves the tackler behind. When he arrived at the second level, be aware of the sudden moves. These small movements are just enough to throw a defender off the proper pursuit angle.
Michel will make opponents pay on swing passes and wheel routes. His 621 yards and six touchdowns at Georgia display third-down acumen. With times and reps, Michel could evolve into a true every-down back. The right system will bring this out of him.
Michel shows willingness as a pass protector. Granted, most rookie running backs will struggle with picking up blitzes. Yet, there is no accounting for effort; Michel will meet a rusher shoulder to shoulder with no trepidation.
Sooner or later, Michel will need to allow the game to unfold for him. As he plays, the game should slow down for him. At Georgia, Michel would run ahead of his blocks and show the occasional impatience while setting up blocks. Michel appears keenly aware of this shortcoming. During his career in Athens, he attempted to adopt a more patient approach.