Christine Michael: The NFL’s Next Elite Running Back
It’s not very often that one NFL team has two elite running backs on its roster. However, that could very well be the case with the Seattle Seahawks, who believe sophomore Christine Michael has all the makings of a superstar ball carrier.
The Seahawks, known for their run-heavy offense, already have Marshawn Lynch locked in to the No. 1 spot atop the running back depth chart. Depending on how training camp goes, though, Seattle could soon be forced to create a No. 1B slot for Michael, who turned heads left and right during OTAs and appears ready to live up to expectations.
The No. 62 overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, Michael flew under the radar during his senior year at Texas A&M after landing in Kevin Sumlin’s doghouse and spending the majority of the season on the sidelines. However, despite limited touches, Michael still managed 12 rushing touchdowns while displaying outstanding instincts, vision and explosiveness.
Seattle gambled, grabbing him in the second round despite having no first-round pick and Lynch atop the pecking order. The presence of reliable backup Robert Turbin also seemed to make Michael’s selection all the more curious, but the Seahawks knew what they were doing. They were drafting for value, and found more than they could have ever hoped for with the former Aggie.
Now heading into what should be a breakout sophomore campaign, Michael is primed to steal significant touches from Lynch while also pushing Turbin down the depth chart. If he can prove during training camp that he possesses solid third-down abilities, Michael might even make Turbin obsolete.
The bigger picture here, though, is that the Seahawks could soon have two elite running backs on their hands.
Michael has all of the natural ability to be a star in the NFL. All you’d have to do is put on his college film or 2013 preseason action to understand why the second-year runner is capable of being the workhorse in Seattle. Add in the fact that Seahawks coaches are raving about his improvements as a pass protector and route runner, and you have to believe that Michael is on track to shoulder a significant load in 2014.
At the same time, Lynch isn’t getting any younger. Especially with recent reports that the veteran is seeking a contract extension, the Seahawks could simply choose to move on from Lynch and move forward with Michael as their featured back.
No matter what direction Seattle goes in, the future is extremely bright for Michael. If he can continue to make highlight-reel plays once the pads are on, the Seahawks will be forced to feed him early and often in 2014. And if all goes as planned, they might not even need Lynch in the near future.