Because most rookies don’t get enough credit, we’ll be highlighting some top performances by the NFL’s next generation.
Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots
When I predicted that the Patriots would take Sony Michel at thirty-first overall out of Georgia, I saw him as a potentially useful tool in Tom Brady’s short-range passing game. Michel has quickly become effective in a different way, stepping up in the absence of Rex Burkhead to become something of an every-down back for New England. He’s had over 100 yards from scrimmage in each of the last two weeks and showed his rare burst on a thirty-four-yard TD to ice the Colts. Popping through a hole on the left side, Michel quickly took a diagonal to the sideline, laying out a defender with a sharp stiff arm, then coasting up the sideline unmolested. It’s the sort of play that Michel made routinely at Georgia. Having Michel in the backfield to pair with James White will make the Patriots run game significantly more difficult to defend. From an offensive play-calling standpoint, Michel’s presence will very likely increase the bite on play action, as defenses will need to honor his game-breaking speed. As Brady’s trust in Michel grows, I expect to see him in more passing looks as well, similar to how the Patriots used Dion Lewis over the past few seasons.
Check out previous rookie reports here.
Image Source: CBS Boston