In the Moment
As I looked into his piercing eyes, I saw his soul. It was angry, and it knew that I was watching. Like an eye of the storm, everything around it began to swirl. It was all trying to escape, but it was powerless to the demanding control. It was gaining momentum, and the hairs on my arms started to stand and the area between my shins and my thighs started to give out. What used to be my knees were trembling so hard I couldn’t get my footing. The only thing that stood in the way of a touchdown was me.
He was heading directly at me with punishing force. While the storm around him kept trying to get away from him his gravitational pull kept it orbiting around him. To make matters worse, inertia had been set in motion when he catapulted off the tackle and absorbed the impact from the linebacker to break out of the second level. There was only one way to stop him, and I had to hit him low. The force was too much for me to take him high, and that was apparent by the last tackle attempt.
This is it!
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I took my eyes off of his. At this very moment in time I knew I had given him the impression that I was scared. Shit, who the hell was I kidding; it was true. There was too much on the line, and he had this look in his eye. He wanted to run right through me. I had to focus on his legs so that I could time my tackle as his leading leg left itself vulnerable. Just as I lunged forward in tackle pursuit, the very leg I was tracking made a sudden change in direction, and while the numbers on his jersey were square with my line of sight he was already in the next lane. I’m facing the enemy sideline – only he’s running toward ours. I didn’t have a chance in hell. Everything that lead up to this point set me up for failure. All the power, all the velocity – I knew what I had to do, I just couldn’t do it. The beast knew it the entire time.
The above could easily be the thoughts that run through a defender’s mind when Christine Michael has the ball in his hands. While it would seem like an eternity, these thoughts all swirl within a split second of time. The below video is a cut-up of all his best plays. You can view meaningful snaps of Christine Michael at draftbreakdown.com, but I cannot deny the fact that Christine Michael’s highlight reel is far more highlight worthy than most other young running backs just waiting for their opportunity to shine. Marshawn Lynch is a beast and is known to go into “beast-mode,” but Christine Michael is Son of Beast.
The Son is Born
The prodigy is more dangerous than his teacher. While Marshawn “Dis ‘Mah Son” Lynch weighed in at the combine at 215 lbs at 5’11”, Michael weighed in at 220 lbs. while only 5’10”. Take a look at the combine comparison between the two below:
Green means good, right? In no way, shape, or form and I saying that Lynch is bad, his results are insane. But if Lynch’s results are insane, then Christine Michael’s results should have been featured in American Horror Story – Asylum.
While it was only the preseason, we were fortunate to see just what Christine Michael is all about against other players fighting for jobs leading into the 2013 year as he ripped off 201 yards and a TD at 5 yards/carry. The only other running backs looking to make a statement that performed that well were Jordan Todman and Khiry Robinson (two additional names to monitor). Michael took a back seat to Robert Turbin as the change of pace back behind Lynch in 2013, and some are buying into the Robert Turbin as the back to target for a fraction of the cost. Robert Turbin is actually a very good running back across the board in terms of doing all the things coaches want from a running back, and he was the better fit to take on that role in terms of his skill-set as well as his experience in the system. Turbin is a much better fit for that role, and he’ll still be a better fit for that role after Michael takes over for Lynch.
Hold Your Horses
Michael’s senior season with Texas A & M was cause for concern and the proof doubters use to say Michael is all hype and no substance. After averaging 147 attempts, 791 yards, and 5.37 Y/C, Michael only produced a fraction of that his senior year. He also suffered a broken leg after 8 games his sophomore year and then a torn ACL after 5 games his junior year. The NFL is a “what have you done for me lately” league, and the senior season is very important to many in terms of predicting future NFL success. This surely doesn’t help when you compound this information on top of character concerns that kept him off the field in 2012 and sleeping through combine meetings with NFL teams, as Sigmund Bloom wrote about last year. But when he was on the field, he was highly efficient while being a touchdown machine in limited opportunity.
Many people forget that these are still college kids, and we expect them to be ready to live like 30 year old, responsible adults. I did a lot of things right at thats age, but I probably did many more things wrong at that age. We need to remember we all weren’t the greatest at that age either. Michael is a between-the-tackles no-nonsense runner that knows how to get low, keep his feet moving, and push the pile. He’s absolutely dangerous in the open field as he’s able to make violent cuts while running at top speed without appearing to lose that speed while making the cut. While he doesn’t have complete breakaway speed, he doesn’t need it. It’s much more important in today’s NFL to be able to play laterally and move the chains. That’s not to say he can’t take it to the house…
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Marshawn Lynch is an experienced runner that’s had his chance to live and learn. While he has likely given himself more chances to learn than others with run-ins with the law, it doesn’t appear that he will be suspended as he was able to get off with reckless driving. The larger issues for the Seahawks is the strain Lynch puts on the cap in 2015. When Lynch is no longer a Seahawk, we will see Pete Carroll unleash Son of Beast.
Lynch was the 5th best PPR running back in 2013. The only thing Lynch did better than Michael on the combine scale was run a faster 40, and it wasn’t by much. I can say with conviction that when Christine Michael gets his chance, he will be in the running for the top yearly fantasy back producer every year he starts. If Lynch can be top 5 two years running, Michael can do that and more. His impact to the fantasy scene is going to warrant his 60.5 ADP in February dynasty start-ups on dynastyleaguefootball.com.
He’s going too low – I understand that he hasn’t shown it at the NFL level, and that’s already baked into his ADP. If his ADP were to climb into the 2nd round? Yes, I would still pay the piper at that price to put him on my team. This would put him in the range of Doug Martin, Le’Veon Bell, and C.J. Spiller. Many people will say I’m mad. Fast-forward a year from now, and let’s hypothetically say Michael got his chance. Where would his ADP land at that point? It would land in the second round at a minimum, and you would have only paid a 5th/ 6th round pick this year to acquire him. PAY THE PIPER!!!
I leave you with this little nugget to help you get a head-start on this way of thinking for the next Christine Michael as we approach rookie drafts:
I paid an 11th rounder in start-ups for Christine Michael last year, and I drafted him in the late first in rookie drafts. I saw him go as early as 4th overall in a rookie draft last year. Crazy? Maybe…but I also took Isiah Crowell at 11.7 in the DLFMock last week. So there’s that.