By Brian D’Erario (@BrianDFF)
Throughout the fantasy football industry, I seem to sense a dive of Sony Michel stock following the draft. Depending on who you asked prior to the draft, Sony Michel was hovering at around the 1.03 in single QB rookie ADP. That seamed respectable and I myself had him at 2A/2B with Nick Chubb depending on where they landed.
Then something shocking happened. The Patriots drafted Sony Michel.
I didn’t know what to do. I battled with being extremely excited and confused. I didn’t understand how they were filling a need with a position that they have four players currently rostered.
Then it dawned on me, Michel is superior to all of them.
After analyzing the Patriots draft and all their moves back it is not hard to deduce that Bill Belichick did not appreciate the talent in this draft. The pick to take Michel meant that Belichick plans on cutting a few pieces (I’m looking at you Mike Gillislee and Jeremy Hill). It also means a significant chunk of Rex Burkhead’s (who effectively becomes a pass-catching back/slot receiver) stock takes a dive.
When I first began writing this article, I was going to analyze the Patriots running backs of the past. Michel is a different case because the Bill Belichick-era Patriots have only once invested this much stock in a running back, especially with the money they have currently tied to the position. With that being said, let’s take a brief look at the careers of these prior first rounders:
Five-time All Pro and captain of the Patriots defense. Outstanding career, potential Hall of Famer. The anchor to the Patriots defense for seven years.
Little known tight end to people outside of New England. Had trouble dropping passes early in his career, but notably had seven touchdowns in the Super Bowl season of 2004.
First team All Pro, part of the Patriots All-2000’s team, defensive starter for eight of his twelve seasons.
Need I say more? A dominant presence at nose tackle. Four-time All-Pro. Is this list getting repetitive? Yes, there have been a lot of All-Pros (kind of my point).
A tight end who recently found himself a home with New Orleans. A seasoned veteran who was never dominant but surely had himself a successful, long career.
A six-time All Pro who never found himself on a Super Bowl winning Patriots team, but played in both losses to the Giants. An integral part to the dominance of the mid-2000 Patriots.
The only other running back the Patriots have taken in the first round. 4.1 YPC in his career but never signed a second contract with any team after his rookie contract expired.
Two time Pro Bowler with the Patriots who was mysteriously cut prior to the 2011 season and was never the same player.
One of the smartest linebackers the Patriots have ever had. He was a team captain, earned All Pro and Pro Bowl Honors, and was my favorite defensive player on the Patriots for the last ten years. Started every game he was healthy for his career.
A current member and leader of the Patriots today. Three-time All Pro and an integral part of the last two Super Bowls the Patriots have won.
Just got a mega-contract with the New York Giants and was dominant in protecting Tom Brady’s blind side for the last six seasons.
All-Pro and current member of the Arizona Cardinals and was traded away after an incident off the field. Known as one of the best pass-rushers in the league.
Currently my favorite Patriots defensive leader. Similar to Mayo, he is one of the smartest linebackers I have ever seen, and two key plays that he impacted (Matt Ryan strip sack and stopping Marshawn Lynch at the goal line) directly led to Super Bowl victories. All Pro.
A break from the All Pros as we have a “bust” in terms of draft position, as Easley is no longer on the team and was cut after two seasons with the team.
A versatile defensive tackle who is currently with the team. Still an important part of the team today.
This article was not meant to shove in your face the success of the Patriots during their historic run in the last eighteen years. It is remind everyone that Bill Belichick historically does not miss with first round picks and is probably one of the greatest talent scout in NFL history. You can look at all of the factors including current roster, his injury concerns, and the Patriots schemes that typically shuffle running backs depending on game plan for why Michel will not be successful.
However, if I told you that with the 1.02 you would be getting an extremely talented athlete on most likely the #1 offense in the NFL, would you be happy? (Hint: this is Sony Michel)