Former first-round pick Sony Michel is on the move. The New England Patriots shipped the running back to the Los Angeles Rams on Wednesday morning for conditional 2022 fifth- and sixth-round picks that could become one fourth-rounder, per The Athletic's Jourdan Rodrigue.
The #Patriots are trading former first-round RB Sony Michel to the #Rams for a couple of late-round conditional draft picks, per @AdamSchefter. LA has been looking for a RB help and get Michel, who is in the final year of his rookie contract.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) August 25, 2021
Michel, who ESPN's Adam Schefter said “probably will be the lead back” in Los Angeles, posted a career-high 80.9 PFF grade in 2020 that tied for 11th at the position and 3.41 yards after contact per attempt, which was a top-10 mark.
|Year||PFF Grade||Yds After Contact|
|2020||80.9 (T-11th)||3.41 (8th)|
|2019||68.0 (39th)||2.55 (T-48th)|
|2018||75.8 (T-20th)||2.56 (T-47th)|
Injuries have decimated Los Angeles' running back room this offseason, headlined by a season-ending torn Achilles for presumed starter Cam Akers. Darrell Henderson figured to see a bigger workload as a result, but he too is sidelined, dealing with an unknown thumb injury.
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Darrell Henderson stock down: Michel's acquisition makes it less likely we see Henderson in a pseudo-workhorse role. Move him down the rankings to back-end RB2 status. Michel, with a three-down skill set in his own right, is now an interesting flier if Henderson gets hurt.
Damien Harris stock up: Michel was vying for touches in the Patriots’ backfield, so his departure all but solidifies Harris as the clear early-down back. Harris will still lose out on passing downs to James White, but he's solid as an RB2 option.
Rhamondre Stevenson has sleeper appeal: Stevenson's impressive preseason showing gave the Patriots the confidence they needed to move Michel. Stevenson's size is LeGarrette Blount-esque, so don't be surprised if the rookie earns a goal-line role or his involvement increases throughout the season.
Michel only mediocre in WAR: He is tied for 34th at the position in PFF Wins Above Replacement generated since entering the NFL in 2018.
New scheme, new Michel: How Michel fares in Rams head coach Sean McVay's zone-heavy scheme will be worth monitoring.
Michel struggles on outside-zone runs: The 26-year-old comes from a New England team that employed gap runs at one of the highest rates in the NFL, and he has recorded the worst outside-zone rushing grade among running backs with 100 such carries since 2018.