Sony Michel hopes to hear his name called during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft on Thursday night. But will an injury concern keep that from happening for the electric Georgia running back?
It depends on who you ask. And it may also depend on what NFL team doctors have to say about what they see in the medical records of the Bulldogs star. During a recent podcast for The Ringer, former NFL executive Michael Lombardi revealed that he loves Michel’s skills but believes there a chance he could drop on draft day.
“I love this kid,” Lombardi said before lowering the hammer on the former Georgia running back’s draft stock. “I think I’m concerned. There’s a lot of teams telling me there’s a medical concern here, so he could slip a little bit. I don’t know what it is, but the way the medical works at the combine is there’s a table with like six doctors from each team at one table and six different from another team at another table. His medical grade is a little iffy from what I’m told.
“But this kid, to me, is the prototypical NFL back. He can catch the ball, he can impact the passing game. Remember how we have to evaluate running backs– it’s block, catch, run. It isn’t run, catch, block. And this kid blocks well. This kid can be impactful. I love this kid as a player.”
What could the concern be? A report from Lombardi cited by Rotoworld.com indicates there is speculation that Michel has a “bone-on-bone” condition in his knee that could shorten the lifespan of his NFL career.
Michel checks in as the No. 3 running back and No. 28 overall prospect on the famed “Big Board” of long-time ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. He is the No. 2 running back on the board for ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay, who has only Penn State running back Saquon Barkley graded higher at the position.
Even Lombardi, who is the source on this concern, included Michel as the No. 9 player in his Top 15 offensive prospects for the 2018 NFL Draft.
This news of medical concerns likely isn’t a surprise to Georgia fans who watched Michel battle back from multiple ailments during his time in Athens, including serious injuries to his knee, ankle and forearm.
Georgia fans also are not likely to be surprised if Michel rises above it all to have a fantastic professional career. He has overcome injuries time and time again.