Christine Michael to Seahawks: How Does the Running Back Fit with Seattle?
Many fans in the Pacific Northwest were waiting for the Seattle Seahawks to select with their original second-round pick, 56th overall.
It didn't happen.
Seattle traded down to the final pick of the second round (62nd overall) with the Baltimore Ravens and picked up a fifth- and sixth-rounder in the process.
Interestingly enough, Baltimore took former Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown with Seattle's original selection. I had a first-round grade on Brown and singled him out as a possible trade-up target for the Seahawks earlier.
In the end, Seattle went running back with Christine Michael from Texas A&M. I am not sold on this selection in terms of need and fit. That being said, the talented young running back possesses a tremendous amount of upside.
Let's take a look at how Michael fits into what Seattle is attempting to build in 2013 and over the longer term.
At 27 years old, Marshawn Lynch has some quality years left in the tank. It would be foolish to believe that he will slow down anytime soon. In addition, Seattle selected Robert Turbin in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL draft. The Utah State product tallied over 500 yards on just 99 touches as a rookie this past season (via Pro Football Reference).
Where does Michael fit in here? There aren't going to be a ton of touches to go around for a third-string running back in 2013. This seems to indicate that Seattle took the Texas A&M product purely based on the future.
That's not a bad move to make for a team in contention for a Super Bowl. Why not attempt to build a younger roster further down on the depth chart? This is what John Schneider and Pete Carroll had to be thinking.
Mike Sando of ESPN indicated what many fans in the Pacific Northwest had to be thinking when this pick was announced:
Running back Christine Michael of Texas A&M to Seahawks at No. 62. There is a surprise.— Mike Sando, ESPN.com (@espn_nfcwest) April 27, 2013
If so, Seattle could have valued Michael's talent level and athleticism a ton when it made the decision to trade down.
This is about where I had Michael ranked on my big board in terms of running backs. When a run of second-round running backs went off the board, some team was going to "reach" for the Texas A&M product in terms of overall value.
When it comes to future projections and upside, Michael is right up there with the best running backs in the class. He has the speed and breakaway ability to be a darn good player at this level.
To get an idea of where other experts valued Michael, our very own Matt Miller had him ranked as the 120th overall prospect and ninth-best running back in the class. That's not exactly the type of value Seattle was likely looking for after trading down with Baltimore.
Bleacher Report's Sigmund Bloom had the following to say about Michael in his recent scouting report on the talented young running back:
Michael is an electric runner. He gets north-south in a hurry with explosive cuts into the hole and generally plays at a different speed than anyone else on the field. Michael is a rugged and explosive player who will attempt to run a tackler over just as quickly as he'll put a move on them in the open field.
If healthy, Michael can be one of the most electric running backs in this draft class. There is no doubt in my mind that the talent is there, he just needs to quiet these concerns.
Michael broke his leg back in 2010 and the following season tore his ACL (via The Sporting News). These are real concerns and puts Seattle on the spot as it relates to risk in the second round.
Michael fits what the Seahawks are attempting to build as it relates to speed on the offensive side of the ball. After they went out there and traded for Percy Harvin, it became obvious that Schneider and Co. were looking to up team speed on offense.
This doesn't tell us the entire story.
Again, I point to Sigmund Bloom to tell a story here about Michael's stellar on-field speed:
His initial burst and acceleration through the line are unrivaled in this class, and he loses little momentum when he changes direction. Michael's speed makes tacklers take bad angles, and he has the long speed to take the ball to the house from anywhere on the field.
Some may conclude that Seattle reached for a lesser player at a position that doesn't represent tremendous need. I fully understand that, but it is a knee-jerk reaction. While I would rather have seen it address other needs, it's obvious that Seattle went with upside here more than anything.
As one of the favorites to win the NFC in 2013, I don't blame the Seahawks one bit for going high upside rather than sure bet.
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