Sony Michel showed quite a bit of promise in his rookie season with the New England Patriots.

Despite missing three regular-season games due to knee injuries, Michel still managed to amass 931 rushing yards with six touchdowns in the 2018 campaign. The 24-year-old took his game to the next level in the playoffs, as he found the end zone six times over three postseason contests, including the lone touchdown in the Patriots’ Super Bowl LIII victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

Michel still has a way to go before he can be considered one of the league’s best running backs, but he’s on the right track. This was reflected in an column published Monday which tasked three-time Pro Bowl back Maurice Jones-Drew with ranking all top-of-the-depth-chart RBs from 1 to 32. Michel comes in at No. 11 on MJD’s list.

“Michel showed he can be a bell cow during the postseason, with 71 carries for 336 yards and a rookie-record six rushing TDs in three games,” Jones-Drew writes. “He underwent a minor knee procedure in June, but Michel should still be the effective rusher he was in the postseason starting in September. Plus, I think Patriots OC Josh McDaniels will be more creative with the running game now that Rob Gronkowski is no longer on the team.”

A heavy workload could be in store for Michel in his sophomore season. Outside of the aforementioned Gronkowski exit, there’s a level of uncertainty surrounding the Patriots’ collection of pass-catchers as a whole. New England currently doesn’t have a true identity at tight end, and Julian Edelman, at present, is the team’s only sure-handed wide receiver. If Michel can improve his pass-catching abilities out of the backfield, he’ll likely become even more of a focal point in the Patriots’ offense.

That said, staying healthy will be the first step in Michel putting together a productive second season. The Georgia product missed all of mandatory minicamp due to a reported knee scope.

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