Sony Michel capped off a strong four year run at the University of Georgia with an impressive 1,227 yard, nine touchdown season. He made headlines as a game changer in the Bulldogs heartbreaking last second loss to Alabama in the National Championship. With the uneasy nature between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Le’Veon Bell and their contract discussions, is he a fit for their offense? What does Sony Michel bring to the table?
School: Georgia Bulldogs
Michel has great vision and instincts to break runs into the open field. He is a big play maker. Michel does a good job of staying patient behind the line, waiting for holes to open up, and attacking them with burst. He does it in the National Semifinal in the play below.
Watch his vision and patience to wait for the hole to the outside to open up. Then, he cuts hard and bursts into the open field.
What is best about the play is the way he finishes it by lowering his shoulder and fighting for extra yards. The same applies below. He breaks a few arm tackles to his legs but his still has a lot of speed into the open field from his plant. As he approaches the defender in front of him, he is lowering his shoulder and picking up three or four extra yards.
The combination of power, speed and elusiveness that Michel brings to the table makes him a runner who can stay on the field for all three downs. He is a superb pass blocking back and can be used in short yardage situations. The elusiveness, footwork and wiggle are just as efficient as the power on the third down for Michel.
There is a perception after a four reception for 41 yard performance game in the National Semifinal that he is a well polished pass catching back. However, that is not quite the case yet. In fact, he only had nine catches all season for the Bulldogs, and had some issues when it came to pass catching as well.
He also is not always the most elusive runner, and will rely on burst more than agility to continue to gain yards in the open field.
Pro Comparison: Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
After two games in the national spotlight around the same time Alvin Kamara was ripping up the NFL, the comparisons were bound to come. This one may end up being used so much that it comes way off base. Therefore, this is a good chance to set the record straight. Michel could find himself a role similar to Alvin Kamara.
The two share traits such as balance, burst, physicality to finish runs and beat arm tackles with the lower body. Michel may be a bit bigger, but Kamara is definitely a better player laterally.
Kamara is also much more dangerous in the passing game. He is a strong route runner, and one that is able to plant, fake defenders and get himself in space before and after the catch. That is not something that Sony Michel has proven yet. That is a projection for Sony Michel. In the NFL, he will have to show that to put himself on that level.
However, when you watch the play below, you think the same thing you did when you watched Alvin Kamara at Tennessee; get that guy in a Dome and watch him go.
Fit with Pittsburgh Steelers
In the second round, the Steelers could entertain the idea of Sony Michel. If they test him at the combine, and feel he is strong enough to help out on third down, he could find a role. Early in his career he could help in pass protection and as a third down back. He can provide help while progressing at some areas he is weaker at. As the team would eventually move on from Le’Veon Bell, they could build Michel up enough as a pass catcher to rely on him solely in 2018.
The question is whether or not he would fall to their second round pick. The national spotlight and the comparison to Kamara has a lot of buzz around his name. Some think he will go in Round One, but it does seem likely he will be gone by Round Two. He is not worthy of the Steelers first round pick, so it will be interesting to see if they face that dilemma in Round Two.