Best Scheme Fit: A heavy outside zone-running scheme - given his explosiveness and vision - that mixes in a steady dose of dives and inside traps. Note: All times listed in parentheses
in strengths/weaknesses section reflect the start time on video
- via Draft Breakdown - that displays that skill/trait.
Eyes are tied with his feet and sets up defenders well; often
seamless transition from identifying a defender in his path
and leaving him flat-footed. (0:11, 1:08, 1:27, 1:52, 2:55, 2:52)
Extremely sharp cutting ability, needs one step to change
from east-west to north-south and vice versa. (0:39, 0:56, 1:08, 3:41, 4:58)
Quickly shifts into another gear to defeat defensive pursuit
angles and leave defenders in his wake when he gets in the clear.
(0:54, 1:56, 2:11, 2:16, 4:38, 4:39)
Was not utilized a lot as a receiver out of the backfield
(64 career catches in four years), but a very effective weapon
when used as such. (0:32, 1:03, 1:52, 3:22)
Displays solid awareness in the passing game, quickly identifying
the blitzer (0:01, 1:39, 2:09) and instinctively throwing
the right kind of block for the situation. (0:01,
0:34, 1:22, 1:39, 2:09)
Will occasionally get ahead of himself when he sees a cutback
opportunity in the open field. (1:06,
Seems to chop his feet much better at the second level than
the first (0:01, 0:12, 3:00, 3:34) and will occasionally get
tripped up by an arm tackle. (0:01,1:53, 2:01, 3:07)
Can run a bit too high at times and will sometimes lower
his head without lowering his shoulder; needs to improve running
behind his pads. (0:32,1:52, 2:39, 3:09)
Was never the manfor a full season in college; will his next
team allow him to prove his durability or pigeonhole him as
a complementary runner?
Sophisticated route-running ability is an unknown.
Allows the ball get into his body on occasion when he should
catch it with his hands; wasn't asked to do much more than catch
screen or swing passes in college.
Doesn't always keep the ball high-and-tight and had some
fumble issues in his college career (12 fumbles, five lost).
Often in successful two-headed backfields in which there is a
thunder-and-lightning component, the assumption is one player
is a bowling ball-like "Mr. Inside" and the other is
a scatback "Mr. Outside" type. Such was not the case
at Georgia. In other words, Michel's 7.9 YPC in 2017 or his career
6.1 YPC was not a product of him getting all the "easy"
runs while Chubb always ran between the tackles. Michel consistently
delivers the blow on inside runs AND has the ability to beat defenders
to the perimeter almost anytime he wants. Perhaps his most impressive
traits are his vision (his "feel" for the crease is
uncanny) and running instincts (i.e. the ability to know exactly
when to cut, when to accelerate, what is happening at the next
While using the stats of one game isn't a good way to determine
the pro readiness of a player, the exercise can helpful using
the proper context. Alabama has allowed 13 100-yard rushers since
coach Nick Saban arrived in 2007, two of which came in 2017. One
of those instances last season occurred when the running back
finished with 30 carries (Auburn), while the other came in a 66-3
win for the Crimson Tide (Ole Miss). Michel ran for 98 yards against
the Crimson Tide on only 14 carries … in the national title
game. While a good performance alone against Alabama doesn't guarantee
pro success, the fact Michel thrived against a defense that will
likely feature several Day 1 and Day 2 draft picks - not to mention
a Saban-coached defense - on the biggest stage bodes well for
his pro future.
Scheme fit is going to be very important for Michel. On one hand,
if he finds his way into a zone-based running scheme, he could
easily be a feature back who regularly makes the Pro Bowl. On
the other hand, if he gets stuck on a team that has a weak link
or two up front and/or is consistently being asked to avoid penetration
in the backfield, then he's probably going to struggle to be anything
more than a complementary back. That's not meant as a knock on
him - only a few NFL running backs can overcome consistent penetration
- but he is simply at his best when he gets to use his athleticism
in the open field. Michel is a rare back to say the least - an
inside runner who doubles as a breakaway threat - so the right
offensive coordinator should have a field day calling runs for
him. If he proves to be a sophisticated route-runner as well,
look out. He isn't likely to break tackles at near the rate Hunt
does despite a similar running style, but he is more of a big-play
threat. All in all, Michel has the goods to be a top-15 NFL back
if he finds the right landing spot, cuts down on the fumbles and
proves to be durable.
Doug Orth has written for FF
Today since 2006 and been featured in USA Today’s Fantasy
Football Preview magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today’s
hour-long, pre-kickoff fantasy football internet chat every Sunday
in 2012-13 and appears as a guest analyst on a number of national
sports radio shows, including Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive”.
Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.