Sony Michel and draft strategy

doc

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But if he damaged the cartilage in his knee while blowing out his knee, it isn’t.
If he damaged cartilage that can be repaired, that's what a meniscus tear is. It has to be really bad before they just remove it these days, especially in a young athlete. I had my ACL and medial meniscus repaired 15 months ago and my meniscus was all bunched up in the front of my knee. The repair was a total success.
 

Super Nomario

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The Pats drafted the following defensive players:

Duke Dawson: IR. Eligible to return Week 9, but unclear if he will.
Ja'Whaun Bentley: IR. Earliest he can return is Week 12, which seems unlikely.
Christian Sam: Season ending IR.
Keion Crossen: 7th round DB, inactive first 2 weeks.

This was a year after drafting Deatrich Wise and Derek Rivers. Cyrus Jones was taken as their top pick the year before that.

They've also added Lawrence Guy (UFA), Adrian Clayborn (UFA), Danny Shelton (traded 3rd round pick), and Jason McCourty (UFA). They've invested the capital; just that most of their investments turned into tulip bulbs.
Don't forget Gilmore.

They have also lost a lot of guys - since the 2016 Championship, Butler, Ryan, Branch, Long, Sheard, Ninkovich, Collins (traded halfway through 2016), McClellin
 

sodenj5

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If he damaged cartilage that can be repaired, that's what a meniscus tear is. It has to be really bad before they just remove it these days, especially in a young athlete. I had my ACL and medial meniscus repaired 15 months ago and my meniscus was all bunched up in the front of my knee. The repair was a total success.
I’m very much aware of what a meniscus tear is.

I also think there might be a slight difference between your definition of total success in daily life and Sony Michel’s ability to play football at an elite level for the last 7 years and moving forward.
 

EL Jeffe

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I know David Chao's reputation and history are cause for alarm, ridicule, whatever other negative verb you want to throw in there. But he was still an NFL team doctor for years and his instant Twitter injury diagnosis prognostications are pretty much always spot-on. He has an article out from back in April where he indicates Michel likely has a degenerative knee condition. If people want to dismiss his opinion as a quack, that's fine. For me, he's been right enough times about injuries that I pay attention. So I base my judgment off Chao and the many whispers that were out there at draft time about the status of his knee. (I could have couched my language better - I don't know for a fact that he has a degenerative knee condition, I'm just going with what seems to be the case based off what I've read and heard. I 100% hope his knee is okay and he has much success here. I just don't see that happening.)

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sports/profootballdoc/sd-sp-pfd-sony-michel-patriots-draft-injury-0426-story.html
 

genoasalami

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RB analysis comes fast. It's been a really small sample size, but some are already labeling him a potential bust. Shoot, Ronald Jones, the second round draft pick of the Bucs hasn't been activated yet because his pre-season numbers were so abysmal. Do RB all of a sudden "get it"?? How much of a sample size do you need to truly judge how good a RB is?
 

Captaincoop

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They used the pick acquired for Cooks to draft Wynn, and there’s likely a few complementary players on the roster who would’ve had to have been replaced by league-minimum guys if the Pats has chosen to pay Cooks.

In hindsight, knowing about Wynn’s injury and Edelman’s suspension, you probably would’ve paid Cooks. But I don’t think it’s hard at all to understand BB’s reasoning at the time.
Cooks was under contract for 2018, right? Am I misunderstanding that?

The Pats have a 41-year-old QB, who (as of February, anyway) was playing at an elite level, coming off a Super Bowl appearance, with no succession plan in place.

It was really a no brainer to trade one season of a top deep threat for a rookie guard, leaving the WR in the state it is now?

Hindsight and all, but I didn't like it in April and I still don't. I guess I'm in the minority on that.
 

maufman

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Cooks was under contract for 2018, right? Am I misunderstanding that?

The Pats have a 41-year-old QB, who (as of February, anyway) was playing at an elite level, coming off a Super Bowl appearance, with no succession plan in place.

It was really a no brainer to trade one season of a top deep threat for a rookie guard, leaving the WR in the state it is now?

Hindsight and all, but I didn't like it in April and I still don't. I guess I'm in the minority on that.
Not saying it was a no-brainer; just that the reasoning was obvious.

Personally, I liked the move once they drafted Wynn. I thought the cheap O-line help and the salary relief (which avoided further cuts) outweighed the loss of Cooks.

Obviously, they should be in GFIN mode at this point, so I definitely wouldn’t do the deal in hindsight. Given the issues at WR, I might not have done it in hindsight even if Wynn hadn’t gotten hurt.
 

rodderick

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Cooks was under contract for 2018, right? Am I misunderstanding that?

The Pats have a 41-year-old QB, who (as of February, anyway) was playing at an elite level, coming off a Super Bowl appearance, with no succession plan in place.

It was really a no brainer to trade one season of a top deep threat for a rookie guard, leaving the WR in the state it is now?

Hindsight and all, but I didn't like it in April and I still don't. I guess I'm in the minority on that.
They held onto Jimmy as Brady insurance until the trade deadline in the last year of his deal, when they could have gotten a lot more from teams by trading him in the offseason, but then shipped off Cooks without a second thought while hoping someone would emerge among the bunch of castoffs they had at the position. Insurance only holds value at the QB position? I understand they got back a first round pick, and they wouldn't have given him that contract, but Brady's age has to factor into this in some way, doesn't it? To lose Cooks, Amendola and Lewis in a single offseason was already brutal, couple that with the Edelman suspension and it's laughable what Brady has to work with for the first four games of this season. But even if Julian were available, he'd still be a 32 year old slot receiver coming off an ACL tear.

I really don't understand why they thought messing around with the WR/RB group this much was a good idea. Was it just about the money? They play role players more money than what Lewis/Amendola got all the time, is it that they undervalue the position and put too much trust in the system?
 

SMU_Sox

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Cooks was under contract for 2018, right? Am I misunderstanding that?

The Pats have a 41-year-old QB, who (as of February, anyway) was playing at an elite level, coming off a Super Bowl appearance, with no succession plan in place.

It was really a no brainer to trade one season of a top deep threat for a rookie guard, leaving the WR in the state it is now?

Hindsight and all, but I didn't like it in April and I still don't. I guess I'm in the minority on that.
It's a long-term play. One year of Cooks vs up to 5 years of a cost-controlled guy at pick 23. Even if you want to trade up or down you acquired an asset for Cooks. They had a ton of holes up and down the roster and went with an OL and an offensive weapon. If they wanted to replace Cooks, as SuperNomario notes, FA/Trade is the best way to go there in year 1. They had at one time a lot of depth at receiver. Injuries and suspensions happened.
 

rodderick

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It's a long-term play. One year of Cooks vs up to 5 years of a cost-controlled guy at pick 23. Even if you want to trade up or down you acquired an asset for Cooks. They had a ton of holes up and down the roster and went with an OL and an offensive weapon. If they wanted to replace Cooks, as SuperNomario notes, FA/Trade is the best way to go there in year 1. They had at one time a lot of depth at receiver. Injuries and suspensions happened.
They never had a ton of proven depth at receiver. They had guys like Dorsett, Matthews, Patterson and Britt, aka journeymen and first round busts that hadn't yet produced in the system. It's one thing to have an established core and then see if one of those players can elevate themselves when given an opportunity, it's another thing to have to rely on those guys to play huge roles from the jump. I'm also of the belief that Patriots fans vastly overrate Chris Hogan. Dude's a good WR3, but if he's one of your top two receivers you probably lack talent at that spot. Brandon LaFell is a better player, had better production with the Pats, and didn't receive 10% of the adulation Hogan does.
 

doc

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I’m very much aware of what a meniscus tear is.

I also think there might be a slight difference between your definition of total success in daily life and Sony Michel’s ability to play football at an elite level for the last 7 years and moving forward.
Well being experienced as both a doctor and a patient with this surgery I figured my clarification might be worth something (not quite the DRS $10, but as I'm a lowly primary care doctor so something). The only study I've seen is that mean onset time to radiographic evidence of arthritis (not subjective symptoms mind you) is about 13 years with 19% of patients having OA by 20 years, but knee injuries in patients under 25 reduced that risk and prolonged the mean onset time. So unless someone with a real medical background reports or we get his actual medical records stating that something went really wrong in his knee then I think that the report quoted was pure conjecture.
 

SMU_Sox

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They never had a ton of proven depth at receiver. They had guys like Dorsett, Matthews, Patterson and Britt, aka journeymen and first round busts that hadn't yet produced in the system. It's one thing to have an established core and then see if one of those players can elevate themselves when given an opportunity, it's another thing to have to rely on those guys to play huge roles from the jump. I'm also of the belief that Patriots fans vastly overrate Chris Hogan. Dude's a good WR3, but if he's one of your top two receivers you probably lack talent at that spot. Brandon LaFell is a better player, had better production with the Pats, and didn't receive 10% of the adulation Hogan does.
Hey, I agree that we needed WR talent in the pipeline last year. I was not happy with the way the group shaped up. I do think they figured one of the many guys you mentioned and/or Mitchell would stick. I still don't have a problem with the Cooks trade in a vacuum. They've shied away from WR in the draft but with the roster status they either need to reinvest again or draft up or both.
Right now many of the guys they have at the top of the roster are guys who would be good 30-53 pieces (Hogan, LBs, DTs). They have at least average top end talent but the back ends of the roster are not good right now and the depth is even worse. It's like SuperNomario said - a dearth of that middle class of the roster.
 

lexrageorge

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I really think the Pats thought they could replace Lewis' production via draft (Michel) and free agency (Hill).

As for WR, I also think they figured Edelman would be able to replace Amendola's 2017 production, which seems like a reasonably safe bet. And that between Jordan Matthews, Malcolm Mitchell, Phil Dorsett, and Kenny Britt, they would have an answer for losing Cooks. Just probably never counted on only one of those 5 players being available on opening day.

Shank and Mazz will call it hubris and arrogance; the more accurate explanation is a combination of misjudgment and bad injury/suspension luck, as unsatisfying as that may be.
 

Marciano490

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If we’re playing hindsight games, that AP contract would’ve worked out well for now at least.
 

dcmissle

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If someone has a link supporting the comment that Michel has a degenerative knee condition or is "bone-on-bone", please provide it, because I cannot find it. Brady had a torn ACL, and required some additional procedures afterwards due to infection; the same could be true here.
Here is the most extensive discussion I have been able to find, on a Georgia site. Links to other reports included.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.dawgnation.com/football/dawgnation/sony-michel-medical-concern-injury-2018-nfl-draft/amp

I believe the news first broke during a Mike Lombardi podcast on April 25. Lombardi raved about his abilities but expressed concern about the knee. Bone-on-bone is a characterization reflected in a Rotoworld report.

I saw discussion in one of the articles around this time that Mike Mayock was reporting concern on the part of some teams as well, though I found no direct link to Mayock and no mention of the dreaded bone on bone.
 
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Super Nomario

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They held onto Jimmy as Brady insurance until the trade deadline in the last year of his deal, when they could have gotten a lot more from teams by trading him in the offseason, but then shipped off Cooks without a second thought while hoping someone would emerge among the bunch of castoffs they had at the position. Insurance only holds value at the QB position? I understand they got back a first round pick, and they wouldn't have given him that contract, but Brady's age has to factor into this in some way, doesn't it? To lose Cooks, Amendola and Lewis in a single offseason was already brutal, couple that with the Edelman suspension and it's laughable what Brady has to work with for the first four games of this season. But even if Julian were available, he'd still be a 32 year old slot receiver coming off an ACL tear.

I really don't understand why they thought messing around with the WR/RB group this much was a good idea. Was it just about the money? They play role players more money than what Lewis/Amendola got all the time, is it that they undervalue the position and put too much trust in the system?
Not really disputing or agreeing with you, but this made me think of the Mankins trade in 2014. That was even more jarring, because it happened on the eve of the season and return (a fourth plus Tim Wright) was much more modest. They wound up starting Jordan Devey at G and experimenting with Marcus Cannon and Cam Fleming inside before they hit on the Connolly / Stork / Wendell combination. Like with this year's receiver group, that's not a very proven set of players, and like this year, it hurt them in the early going. I think the difference is there's no Wendell here who can provide some kind of floor of stability. Maybe Britt or Matthews was supposed to be that guy; I don't know.

I think sometimes the Patriots go into the season knowing they are taking a chance on a certain position group. CB in 2015 is another example; they let Revis, Browner, and Kyle Arrington walk and were relying on unproven Butler and Logan Ryan and castoffs Tarell Brown and B(r)adley Fletcher. That one worked out as Butler and Ryan both wound up being pretty good.
 

Eddie Jurak

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I think there were some positive signs with Michel before he delivered this week. And given that his injury led to him missing the preseason, I think a lot of his evident struggles were more related to needing more time to get reads and timing down. In the short term, I am pretty optimistic about him. In the longer term, the injury and short careers of most RBs give me pause. All in all, I still don't like drafting RBs in round 1, but this one looks like he can help us.
 

BigSoxFan

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Michel looked good out there. I still don’t think he’s showing the same explosiveness that he showed at Georgia last year but you can sense it’s coming. Would like to see him become a receiving threat to keep our early down options open but White is so good there that it’s not a huge issue.

All in all, I don’t love first round RBs but if we get more games like this, I’ll be ok. If injuries don’t bone this team again and Gordon stays clean, this offense will be purring by midseason. There is a lot of talent here.
 

williams_482

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Full disclosure: I don't follow draft prospects, I have no ability to evaluate them, and I don't know what names were available at any given point in the draft. All I have to offer here is vague and unhelpful generalities.

I wasn't a big fan of picking a RB in the first round, and in general terms I think teams regularly shoot themselves in the foot by doing that. For the Patriots in particular, it seemed like an especially odd choice because they have been so good at getting adequate or better production off the scrap heap at that position. The problems with RBs are numerous: propensity for injury, relatively short careers (and associated higher probability of holding out if they turn out to be good), and above all that relatively low on field value. 1,000 yards at 4.0 a pop is lauded as a good season for a RB, but it's pretty common to put up numbers like that while providing very little in the way of actual value.

The counterpoints are that Michel is a dual threat back, not just a runner, and he was picked at #31, which means the opportunity cost wasn't as high as a typical 1st round pick, but he'll still get that extra year of control (a big deal for a RB who, if good, will be massively overpaid by someone else in FA before falling off a cliff). Michel also seems like the kind of straightforward "hit a gap and go" runner who should be pretty good at getting consistently positive yardage and converting short yardage situations, the places where RBs can add real value for their teams.

If Michel can put up some Lewis/Gurley type dual threat seasons, he's probably worth the pick. If he can do a passable impression of 2010 Lawfirm with regards to hitting the right gaps quickly and protecting the ball, that pick will be a huge win for the team.
 

Marciano490

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I mean this in a good way, but he seems to disappear in traffic and then find a way to cut through a seam. I’m trying to remember who he reminds me of with that tactic, obviously Bernard, but he’s not that short.

I’m much happier we have him than I was last week, but hope some of his strength still is returning. I can’t see him or White really crashing through the line on 3rd and short and he didn’t seem to be able to break tackles or run over or through anyone.
 
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I’m much happier we have him than I was last week, but hope some of his strength still is returning. I can’t see him or White really crashing through the line on 3rd and short and he didn’t seem to be able to break tackles or run over or through anyone.
Anecdotally, I tend to agree with this observation but, according to ESPN stats and info, 65 of his 112 yards came after initial contact. That would tend to suggest he is doing a nice job finishing off his runs and powering through the defender.
 

Super Nomario

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I mean this in a good way, but he seems to disappear in traffic and then find a way to cut through a seam. I’m trying to remember who he reminds me of with that tactic, obviously Bernard, but he’s not that short.

I’m much happier we have him than I was last week, but hope some of his strength still is returning. I can’t see him or White really crashing through the line on 3rd and short and he didn’t seem to be able to break tackles or run over or through anyone.
He's not a bowling ball but he ran through some arm tackles yesterday (and for that matter, the week before, though usually that just meant another guy hit him behind the LOS). He also puts his head down, protects the football, and just gets another yard or two rather than try to dance when he's dealing with multiple guys in the open field.

He's not super-fast or joystick-quick or a Beast Mode mauler but he's pretty good in all these categories, so yesterday it seemed like he had a lot of runs where he was fast enough through the hole or put on enough of a move that the defender couldn't get direct contact on him and he was able to run through arms or hands or at least keep his forward momentum for a few yards.
 

SoxinSeattle

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I mean this in a good way, but he seems to disappear in traffic and then find a way to cut through a seam. I’m trying to remember who he reminds me of with that tactic, obviously Bernard, but he’s not that short.

I’m much happier we have him than I was last week, but hope some of his strength still is returning. I can’t see him or White really crashing through the line on 3rd and short and he didn’t seem to be able to break tackles or run over or through anyone.
Shaun Alexander was good at disappearing and reappearing.
 

lexrageorge

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I mean this in a good way, but he seems to disappear in traffic and then find a way to cut through a seam. I’m trying to remember who he reminds me of with that tactic, obviously Bernard, but he’s not that short.

I’m much happier we have him than I was last week, but hope some of his strength still is returning. I can’t see him or White really crashing through the line on 3rd and short and he didn’t seem to be able to break tackles or run over or through anyone.
Couldn't help but bring back some memories:

https://www.sbnation.com/2017/1/22/14354006/legarrette-blount-touchdown-carried-steelers-vs-patriots

FWIW, Mike Mitchell, the poor DB wearing #23 that bore the brunt of attempting to take down Blount, is out of football after being cut by the Steelers in March.
 

GoDa

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I thought he looked more comfortable carrying the ball.

First few games he seemed a bit over the top in his focus on holding the ball with two hands and it looked to me like it was impacting his burst and balance.
 

Jimbodandy

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If Michel stays healthy, he's going to be the Patriots' best running back since Corey Dillon. I count guys like Faulk and White as more receivers than runners.
He has RB IQ and reminded me of Dillon as well. But we have now seen two meh games and one good game. It remains to be seen whether he will impact games properly. He needs to continue the nice running, show sustained ball security, pick up the occasional blitz, and at least serve as an emergency checkdown receiver. However, flashing good running instincts and having a productive game is very encouraging.
 

bosox79

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If Michel stays healthy, he's going to be the Patriots' best running back since Corey Dillon. I count guys like Faulk and White as more receivers than runners.
Where would Michel and White rank as a group amongst other NE RB pairs?
 

bosox79

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White is also going to be better than White, as stupid as that sounds.
 

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Ridley Woodhead for one year (2012) were pretty lethal.

over 1500 yards rushing
Almost 500 Rec ( you could also throw Vereen in here with another 150 yards but that kinda defeats the idea of a duo)
19 TDs
Almost 130 yards of offense from Scrimmage per game

Thats pretty good.

But I will say I agree that Michel and White have the ability to blow that away and both are more 2 dimensional (yes even White) then Ridley/Woodhead who set the standards for 1 dimensional.
 

bosox79

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As far as I can tell, the record for receptions and yards by a RB on the NE Patriots is Tony Collins with 77 receptions, 684 yards. White is on pace for 102 and 864.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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As far as I can tell, the record for receptions and yards by a RB on the NE Patriots is Tony Collins with 77 receptions, 684 yards. White is on pace for 102 and 864.
I'd expect those numbers to normalize with Edelman back, Gordon on board, and Michel getting more comfortable.
 

williams_482

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Benjarvus Green-Ellis' 2010 season is massively, massively underrated by conventional statistics. 1008 yards in 229 carries (4.4) YPC is a solid season, but Lawfirm got those yards in small, unusually consistent chunks, with relatively few losses and no fumbles. He was great in short yardage and on the goal line, the two areas where a rush-first player accumulates most of their value.

Football Outsiders' delightful black box has Lawfirm as the 2nd best runner in 2010, with +26.7% DVOA. More meaningfully (but less demonstrably) the now defunct Advanced NFL Stats Expected Points Added statistic gave Lawfirm a strongly positive grade (something like +20 expected points). For reference, this is a metric that gave most run plays a negative value, because most run plays are worse than an "average" play from a sample including both runs and passes. Having a RB with a positive grade and negligible contributions in the passing game was extremely unusual. Even his clearly inferior 2011 season (3.7 YPC) earned him a +3.9% DVOA and a mildly positive EPA, again on the strength of consistency and short yardage success.

It seems to be generally understood that while passing is a higher yield strategy than rushing, rushing makes up the difference through safety and lower variance. Lawfirm during his Patriots tenure came as close as anyone in recent history to making that actually true.

I don't know how much of that was Lawfirm, the offensive line, or exceptionally efficient playcalling, and I'd be very curious what better football minds have to say about the skills that created this performance profile. Regardless of the ingredients, those results were better than any RB in the Belichick era, and should be viewed as a gold standard performance for a run-first back in a good passing offense.
 

Super Nomario

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True, but he has an extra game on everyone. He could be like 15th by the end of this week. Still, not bad for the rookie, especially given his start.
He missed game one though, so he's the same number of games as most of the players (there were a couple teams on bye week four).
 

djbayko

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He missed game one though, so he's the same number of games as most of the players (there were a couple teams on bye week four).
Totally get that. The difference is he's not getting that game back. So in rate terms, he's on par, but in absolute terms, he's behind. But like I said, not too shabby for the rook.
 

bosox79

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I'd expect those numbers to normalize with Edelman back, Gordon on board, and Michel getting more comfortable.
He's actually on a better pace since Edelman's return. He is now on pace for 110 receptions, 918 years, 12 touchdowns. He needs 22 catches and 225 years over the next 8 games to break the NE RB record for receptions and yards... I think. Not sure what the TD receptions by a RB is.
 

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Not sure what the TD receptions by a RB is.
Terry Barr, the right halfback for the 1963 Lions, had 13, although he only had one rush that season.

The closest and better comparable has to be Charley Taylor of the 1966 Redskins: Only RB in pro football history to have a single season with 40+ rushes (87, White is on pace for 96), and 10+ receiving touchdowns, with 12. Put up a nice total of 1119 receiving yards that season too, good for 3rd in the NFL, 6th if you include the AFL.

Furthermore, only three backs have ever had a 100 catch season: LT had 100 in 2003, Larry Centers with 101 in 1995 as a FB, and then Matt Forte has the all time record with 102 in 2014.
 

bosox79

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Terry Barr, the right halfback for the 1963 Lions, had 13, although he only had one rush that season.

The closest and better comparable has to be Charley Taylor of the 1966 Redskins: Only RB in pro football history to have a single season with 40+ rushes (87, White is on pace for 96), and 10+ receiving touchdowns, with 12.

Furthermore, only three backs have ever had a 100 catch season: LT had 100 in 2003, Larry Centers with 101 in 1995 as a FB, and then Matt Forte has the all time record with 102 in 2014.
I meant for the Patriots. I'm guessing 12 is easily the record. Saquon Barkley is on pace for 222 carries, 1038 yards and 116 receptions, 994 yards. There are a few other RB on pace for 100 this year. McCaffrey, Kamara. Totally different game.
 

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I meant for the Patriots.
Oops, sorry! Agree with your assertation too, because even though not everyone runs a Perkins-Erhardt, it surely feels like such is the case, given in recent years, roles have been much less defined and multi-faceted, which in turn impacts running backs as well. To name a non-Pats example, Corey Clement comes immediately to mind for an RB, and then Taysom Hill on a more macro scale.

Anyway, to answer your question, it's Larry Garron in 1964, as a fullback, with 7.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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He's actually on a better pace since Edelman's return. He is now on pace for 110 receptions, 918 years, 12 touchdowns. He needs 22 catches and 225 years over the next 8 games to break the NE RB record for receptions and yards... I think. Not sure what the TD receptions by a RB is.
I think the bigger factor is him basically being the only running back on the roster the last few weeks, yeah?