FOXBORO — There’s no denying that Sony Michel made an immediate impact for the New England Patriots last season. The rookie running back rushed for 931 yards and six touchdowns in the 13 games he played in. And that was just the regular season.
Michel scored six more touchdowns in the playoffs (so 12 total), including three in one game against the Los Angeles Chargers in the divisional round. He also scored the only touchdown in Super Bowl LIII.
Here are all six of Sony Michel's runs of 20-plus yards last season. Vision (or reading his keys as he put it), patience, sets up his blocks, contact balance.
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) June 15, 2019
However, recurring knee issues have plagued Michel all the way back to his high school days where he tore his ACL. He injured his left knee again in 2017 while playing in the SEC title game for Georgia. Last October with the Patriots, Michel went down mid-game with another kneee injury, but dodged a bullet when the MRI came back to reveal no structural damage. He did still have to miss three games.
Fast forward to this offseason, Michel underwent a precautionary prodecure (knee scope) that kept him out of minicamp. However, he is expected to be available for training camp.
With all of this in mind, there has been another running back emerge from the pack for the Patriots. Damien Harris was getting a lot of reps with Tom Brady in minicamp due to the absence of Michel. While it’s tough to evaluate RBs without pads on, the rookie was able to impress.
Harris was a third-round pick known for running hard, his explosiveness through the hole and being from a pro-ready scheme at Alabama.
While Harris remains as the Patriots only unsigned draft pick left, he’s shown great promise in his short time on the practice field in New England. He’ll have to continue to shine come training camp if he wants to cement himself as Michel’s trusty backup or even give him a run for his money when it comes to touches.