Can change the complexion of an offense as a play-making runner
Experienced and successful against top competition
Not overly powerful
Never handled a big work load as the feature back
Summary: Michel was the forgotten man for a lot of his time at Georgia. At most schools, he would have been an immediate starter and a superstar back. However with the Bulldogs fielding a prolific stable of running backs, it took a lot of time for Michel to show that he is an impact-creating back in his own right.
In his freshman season, Michel was behind Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb on the depth chart and had only 64 carries, although he turned those into 410 yards and five touchdown. In Michel's sophomore season, Gurley was in the NFL and Chubb went down with a knee injury partway through the year. That season Michel gave his largest carry total with 219. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry in 2015 for 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns.
Michel played well in 2016 while serving as the backup to Nick Chubb. On the season, Michel took 152 carries for 840 yards - 5.3-yard average - and four touchdowns. As a senior, Michel averaged 7.9 yards per carry in 2017 for 1,227 yards with 16 touchdowns.
Michel showed some receiving ability with Georgia. He totaled 64 receptions for 621 yards and six touchdowns over his four years as a Bulldog.
There is a lot to like about Michel, who should be an excellent fit for the passing-driven NFL. He is a fast and decisive runner who possesses impressive first-step quickness with a burst to hit the second level and dart downfield. As a runner, Michel is very elusive, using his quick feet, cutting ability, vision, and lateral agility to dodge tacklers. He is a threat to rip off long runs on any carry.
As a receiver, Michel is dangerous. He ran routes out of the slot and was dynamic getting open out of the backfield. Michel uses his speed to get separation and looks natural catching the ball with soft hands. He has the ability to block, and after some development learning NFL blitzes, Michel should be a solid pass protector. Thus, he projects on becoming a three-down starter early in his NFL career.
Michel enters the NFL with fresh legs after splitting carries over his career at Georgia. However, he never was the feature back, denying him the opportunity to illustrate that he could handle a big work load. Michel is also not an overly power runner.
In the 2018 NFL Draft, Michel looks like a late first-round or high second-round pick. Some team sources think that Michel won't make it to their second-round pick and believe that he could go late in Round 1. Contacts at other teams said they think that there is a 50-50 shot of Michel going in the first round.
Player Comparison: Matt Forte. Team sources have told me that they feel Michel is a shorter version of Matt Forte. That makes sense because Forte was an excellent runner during his NFL career, showing dynamic quickness, receiving ability, elusiveness, and the ability to contribute in a variety of ways. Forte was a second-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, and Michel could be a second-rounder in the 2018 NFL Draft.
NFL Matches: Cleveland, New York Giants, Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Detroit and San Francisco
There are a lot of teams that could consider taking Michel in the early rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft. The Browns moved on from Isaiah Crowell and signed Carlos Hyde. If they don't land Saquon Barkley in the first round, Michel would make sense for one of their second-round picks.
In the Big Apple, the Giants could use a feature back for their offense, and Michel would give them a dynamic rushing attack that they haven't had in years. If they don't take Barkley at pick No. 2, the Giants could be interested in Michel in the second round of the 2018 NFL Drafr.
Similarly, the Colts could use a running back of the future to pair with Andrew Luck and bring a more steady rushing attack to their offense. Indianapolis could target Michel with one of its trio of second-round picks.
Tampa Bay needs a feature back after moving on from Doug Martin. Michel would be a great fit in the Bucs' offense, and he could provide an immediate impact for a team that is under pressure to make a playoff run in 2018.
In the Bay Area, San Francisco could use a lead back for its offense. Michel would be a good fit for Kyle Shanahan with his receiving ability. Oakland badly needs more consistency from its rushing offense. Predictably, Marshawn Lynch was a disappointment coming out of retirement, and Doug Martin isn't a long-term answer. The Raiders need a true feature back to go with Derek Carr.
For years now, the Lions have had one-dimensional offense with one of the worst rushing attacks in the league. Detroit needs a true No. 1 back to bring some balance to the offense. Michel would be a great fit for the Lions, but he won't get to their second-round pick, so they will have to trade up for him.