Arnon Dror: Patriots’ Pick RB Sony Michel
Arnon Dror: Dissecting the Patriots’ First Round Pick Sony Michel
Before anything else, it should be said that this happens every year during the draft — fans go on to say they trust Coach Bill Belichick but once he makes his picks, fans are quick to raise their pitchforks and say they hate it. Arnon Dror finds it funny, but there is more to Sony Michel than some fans give him credit for. The other player the Patriots drafted is Isaiah Wynn, but that’s for another post. Image Source: BleedingGreenNation.com
Spending a first-round pick on a running back may not make sense right away, especially with the Patriots’ golden boy of a quarterback retiring very soon. There’s this widespread belief that RBs are a dime a dozen, but are they really? At least the quality ones? These are the Patriots fans are talking about — the New England Patriots who have appeared in the Super Bowl ten times, eight of which is credited to Belichick. They have won 15 AFC East titles in 17 seasons since 2001 without a losing season in that period as well. If that’s not enough to convince you that the Patriots know what they are doing, then Arnon Dror doesn’t know what will.
For the record, the Patriots have picked ten running backs out of 19 drafts under the guidance of Coach Bill. The next most drafted position by the Patriots is the linebacker. Historically, they have drafted six defensive linemen in the first round since 2000. So how does Sony Michel fit into the picture or the Patriots’ machinery?
First things first, some fans have observed that this draft pick is reminiscent of the 2006 draft, where the Patriots selected Laurence Maroney. Back then the Patriots already had the Corey Dillion, Heath Evans, and Kevin Faulk. But Maroney was a strategic pick sharing duties with Marion Barber. This time around, the Patriots already have James White, Rex Burkhead, and Jeremy Hill.
As a senior at the University of Georgia, Sony Michel rushed for 1,227 yards in 14 games. That was the second time in three seasons the All-American player topped the 1K mark. But what makes this even more amazing is that he achieved this on just 156 carries. Taking this into context, Arnon Dror sees the potential Coach Bill may be seeing.
Some other notable facts/stats about Sony Michel is that he averaged 9.7 yards a carry, and he capped off his high school playing career with an average of 6.2 yards a carry. He finished fifth in the nation and the first in the Southeastern Conference with this record. To add more color to this, 14.1% of his carries went beyond 15-plus yards so his production is right at home with the Patriots. In fact, the Patriots had 16 runs of 15-plus yards last season.
So what’s the catch? Arnon Dror shares that Sony Michel has a very concerning fumble rate of once every 54.6 touches. He gives the Patriots a year to ease in their new RB and at least another year before their investment bears fruit.