Michel talks draft evaluation process for underclassmen
ORLANDO -- The Dolphins welcomed Frank Gore home last week, as the veteran running back signed a one-year contract to play with his hometown NFL team. But the Gore addition isn’t a longterm answer so the Dolphins are looking to add more talent to their running back corps.
According to a club source present here with the Dolphins brass at the NFL annual meeting, the Dolphins are continuing their search to upgrade the running back corps despite the Gore addition.
And one place the Dolphins have looked as a good place to shop for the need is the University of Georgia, where both Sony Michel and Nick Chubb offer talents NFL teams value.
The Dolphins were at the Georgia Pro Day last week en masse. I’ve already reported defensive coordinator Matt Burke was at the Georgia Pro Day primarily to look at linebacker Roquan Smith, a possible first-round draft pick. Linebacker coach Frank Bush was there also.
But the Dolphins also sent running backs coach Eric Studesville to the event because the Dolphins are trying to get the best possible evaluations on both Michel and Chubb.
Together, Michel and Chubb formed perhaps the most electrifying backfield in college football last season. And they offer different gifts to whatever NFL teams are going to pick them.
Michel is 5-11 and 220 pounds. Like Gore he is a South Florida native, having played at American Heritage, and was Georgia’s offensive MVP as a sophomore when he gained 1,161 yards. Last season Michel averaged 7.8 yards per carry while gaining 1,227 yards on 156 carries.
Michel’s running style suggests he’s going to take on potential tacklers although he has 4.5 speed and could run away from some defenders if he wants. I’m told the Dolphins think he has great potential in pass protection.
Chubb, 5-11 and 228 pounds, was an SEC freshman of the year and All-SEC in 2014. In 2016 Chubb sustained a serious knee injury although it was not an ACL tear.
He returned in 2016 and some scouts noticed he was not as explosive but he has been productive nonetheless the past two seasons. Last season he rushed for 1,345 yards.
Chubb is considered an outstanding one-cut runner, which fits the Dolphins zone blocking approach in the running game. He is not considered a bad pass protector but with Michel on the team, he typically didn’t play on obvious passing downs.
The Dolphins and indeed all NFL teams will have to decide if Chubb can regain the form he had before the knee injury but it’s possible he might have to wait until the third or perhaps fourth round of the draft to be selected.
If you’re wondering, yes, the Dolphins have paid a lot of attention to Georgia players this spring. (So have the New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons and other teams).
The Dolphins feel they have a solid connection at Georgia because Kirby Smart coached the secondary for Nick Saban and the Dolphins in 2006. General manager Chris Grier is said to be comfortable with the Smart.
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