There’s quite a bit of uncertainty surrounding the Patriots’ pass-catching depth. New England’s stable of running backs, however, is looking awfully solid.
Sony Michel will be coming off a strong rookie season in which he notched six (!) postseason touchdowns. The second-year back will be joined by veteran dual threats James White and Rex Burkhead, as well as 2019 third-rounder Damien Harris. Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels likely will do their best to distribute the touches among the four, but ESPN still is expecting a very high volume of production from the man atop the depth chart.
In a projection for Michel’s sophomore campaign, Mike Reiss expects the Georgia product to find the end zone more than 12 times.
“Over. Michel was a hammer close to the goal line last season, doing some of his best work in the playoffs (6 touchdowns),” Reiss writes. “While it remains to be seen what the identity of the Patriots’ offense will be this season, protecting Tom Brady with a running game that sets up play-action opportunities in the passing game makes a lot of sense. So Michel, assuming good health, should be a central piece of the attack.”
Health is the primary concern for Michel as the 2019 season approaches. The 24-year-old missed three games in 2018 due to a lingering knee issue, which also sidelined him in the early stages of spring/summer practices this year. If Michel is hampered once again in the upcoming campaign, one of his fellow backs will increase their workload and might not look back.
But if Michel manages to maintain a clean bill of health, you can expect him to be a bell cow for the Patriots from wire to wire.