Surprising to no one, the New England Patriots won yet another Super Bowl in 2018. A key contributor to the offense was their rookie running back in Sony Michel.
Michel was the Patriots’ first-round selection out of the University of Georgia. Georgia always has a way of producing talented running backs in the NFL dating back to Herschel Walker in the 1980s to now with Todd Gurley.
Michel took some time to get on the field with the Patriots as he was rehabbing from an injury he had in college. The rookie running back ended up starting in eight games last season.
In those eight games, Michel carried the ball 209 times for 931 yards and six touchdowns. He was also vital to New England’s Super Bowl run, as he had 71 rushes for 336 yards and six touchdowns in the playoffs.
Now, Michel will want to improve upon a stellar rookie season by remaining healthy in 2019. Here are three way-too-early bold predictions for the Patriots running back.
3. 1,300+ Yards Rushing
In just eight starts last season, Michel managed to gain 931 yards on the ground. Furthermore, it’s even more impressive considering the loaded backfield in New England that consists of Michel, James White, and Rex Burkhead.
In 2019, Michel should sit atop the depth chart as the number one running back on the roster. His name should be etched in stone right this second.
The Georgia product ran rampant on opposing defense in his limited opportunities. Seeing him run probably put a smirk on Bill Belichick’s face (a full smile would cause a complete overload of emotions for Belichick).
Michel will continue to showcase why he was a first-round pick in 2019 by surpassing 1,300 yards rushing.
2. 5+ Yards Per Carry
Dating back to his college days at Georgia, Michel has been a guy who can explode for a long run. For instance, Michel averaged a whopping 6.1 yards per carry in his four seasons at Georgia.
Last season, Michel showed flashes of his big-play potential but injuries and limited opportunities slowed him down. New England is going to set Michel free in 2019 to break off extended runs.
In 2018, he averaged a mere 4.5 yards per rushing attempt. That put him as the 29th ranked running back in terms of yards per carry.
Now, Michel has a whole offseason to get more comfortable in the Patriots system and get healthy. We could see a much-improved version of Michel in 2019 and defenses will probably be chasing him downfield more often.
1. 12+ Rushing Touchdowns
Every season the Patriots have a ton of opportunities to get the ball into the end zone. The 2019 season shouldn’t be an exception for Michel and company.
Last season, the rookie running back punched it in six times over the course of the regular season. Again, he only started in eight games and was being utilized in a loaded backfield.
He should become more of a focal point in the rushing attack in the 2019 campaign. Therefore, he will have more chances to come up with more touchdown celebrations since he’ll be in the end zone more often.
New England’s young running back will vault himself to 12 rushing touchdowns in 2019 and put his name in the discussion of top running backs in the NFL.