From now until the 2018 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a several others will be top-ranked players at their positions. If there is a player you would like us to breakdown and profile in the coming weeks and months, let us know in the comments below.
#1 Sony Michel /Georgia RB – 5’11” 215 lbs.
– Good outside/open field runner
– Quite dangerous when offense schemes him into open spaces
– Quick feet/loose hips that allow him to change directions often
– Excellent vision and balance
– Soft nature hands that he uses to catch the pigskin in stride
– Decent pass blocker, solid base and attacks rushing defenders
– Doesn’t take defensive blows head on
– Kickoff returner as a freshman and sophomore
– Ball security issues
– Will be 23 years old in rookie season (February 17, 1995)
– Always played second fiddle to Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb
– His leg drive/power is only adequate for an NFL caliber inside runner
– Fractured his shoulder blade missing 5 games during his freshman season
– Fractured his forearm while on an all-terrain vehicle before his junior season, as a result missed the first 2016 game and was ineffective during his second game as well.
– Got held out of 2017 Samford game due to injured ankle week before.
– High school USA Today Florida Football Player of the Year .
– Rivals.com five star prospect, #14 player nationally, #14 RB nationally, #2 player in the state.
– Career statistics: 591 carries for 3,638 yards (6.2 ypc) with 33 touchdowns and caught 64 passes for 621 yards (9.7 ypr) with 6 touchdowns.
– Was an elite sprinter in high school
– Some of his rap stylings were played during Georgia home football games
Michel lines up a yard beside his quarterback in the shotgun formation on a first and ten. He takes the handoff and runs right where the play was designed, but no hole is found. The back committed too soon to the hole and is limited to a one yard gain. If the Bulldog had used a little patience, the outside was blocked and available.
Michel starts the play two yards behind the signal caller in the shotgun on a second and ten play. #1 takes the handoff getting low/compact and bursts past the two defensive linemen behind the line of scrimmage. His speed allows him to glide into an opening where the back changes his direction when he sees the safety bearing down on him. The former Bulldog’s combination of vision, burst, and balance changed a 2 yard loss into a 17 yard gain.
The back is lined up almost beside QB Fromm in the shotgun with a dire third down and twenty to go situation. Michel receives the handoff and immediately takes a stutter step inside; this forces defenders to flow inside as the former Bulldog bounces the play outside. #1 uses his lateral agility and burst to get himself to the edge. The runner hugs the sidelines forcing more Crimson Tide defenders to almost run into each other freeing the back up for a 29 yard gain.
Once again Michel is lined up a yard behind Fromm in the the shotgun on a first and ten situation. The back receives the handoff and screams through the line of scrimmage like a hot knife into butter with his o-line putting a hat on every hat it saw. #1 shows amazing burst in the open field, shifting into overdrive for an impressive 74 yard touchdown scamper!
In a third and ten situation, #1 is lined up a yard behind his quarterback in the shotgun formation. At the snap, the back steps towards the blitzing defensive back. He gets square and maintains contact with #7 until Fromm unloads the ball to a receiver downfield. Michel got knocked back, but fought thru it showing the grit needed to play the position in the NFL.
While a more expensive draft capital investment on Day Two than a Kalen Ballage, Michel could be a bolt of lightning to the Steelers backfield that wouldn’t hurt the pocket book for a few years unlike #26. His two biggest knocks are lack of winning the starting job over the likes of Gurley and Chubb alongside some minor injuries. Give me the spark he has and the ability to score from 70+ yards away.
Projection: Day-two in Round 2 or 3
Games Watched: @Auburn, @Oklahoma, vs. Alabama, @Notre Dame, @Florida, @Tennessee