Christine Michael might be the most intriguing skill position prospect in the 2013 draft class. Contrast his situation to that of Cordarrelle Patterson. The former Vol is generating incredible buzz at the wide receiver position because of his athleticism, despite a wide assortment of mild red flags. Plus, Patterson wasn’t very good in college. (If you want an athletic freak who can’t execute his routes well enough to earn his quarterback’s confidence, you should probably just trade for Jon Baldwin.)
Michael, on the other hand, is an explosive athlete whose Agility Score projects well to the NFL level. Like Patterson, he sports a handful of minor concerns. His career at A&M was plagued by injuries and any momentum he might have generated as a senior was derailed by various contretemps with the coaching staff. Both issues are reminiscent of a current star’s struggles at Tennessee.
|Christine Michael||2011||Texas A&M||JR||220||149||899||6.0||8||8|
It’s important to note that Michael and Foster are not particularly similar players in most of the relevant categories. They sport different athletic profiles and different mental makeups. Michael is a far better athlete while Foster may be the more intuitive runner. Most importantly, circumstantial evidence suggests Foster’s free thinking ways weren’t always appreciated in a sport that values following orders. Michael’s problem may be not thinking enough.
Regardless, runners can struggle with injuries and coaches during their collegiate stay and still emerge at the NFL level. Running back isn’t a particularly important reality position, and NFL general managers seem to have come to that realization. Because Michael’s expected draft position is far lower than Patterson’s, it becomes much easier to take a chance on a player with such a wide range of potential outcomes.
Due to their stance on character concerns, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Cincinnati Bengals have a higher grade on Michael than most other teams. That would be a dream location for his fantasy prospects. He would join a young offense full of emerging stars and represent a dramatic athletic upgrade on the Law Firm. Should the Bengals select Michael, he immediately becomes the top dynasty selection in rookie drafts.