Since the end of the 2017 college football season, Georgia running back Sony Michel has been pegged as a second-round selection in the 2018 NFL draft.
But could he slip into the first round? Even the top 10?
One NFL analyst believes when the pre-draft process is over, Michel could wind up hearing his name called among the first 10 draft picks. FOX Sports' Peter Schrager said Michel's ability to play his best football in Georgia's biggest games of the season is among the reasons he wouldn't be surprised to see him rise up a team's draft board.
"I watch a lot of college football, but when it came to the biggest games, that semifinals game against Oklahoma, there was one guy who was dominating, and it was Sony Michel," Schrager said recently on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."
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"(He had 222) yards and four touchdowns on 15 touches in that game. He averaged 7.9 yards per carry" during the 2017 season.
Michel spent the past season as the No. 2 running back on Georgia's roster, but essentially he shared carries with fellow running back Nick Chubb. In 14 games — Michel missed Georgia's win over Samford due to an injury — he ran for 1,227 yards and 16 touchdowns. While Georgia, as a team, found it tough to run the ball at times against Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship, Michel led the way with 14 carries for 98 yards.
Earlier this offseason, ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said Michel had first-round ability but would likely be a second-round pick. Kiper currently has Michel as his third-best running back available in this draft behind Penn State's Saquon Barkley and LSU's Derrius Guice. Barkley is Kiper's lone running back slated with a first-round selection for the time being.
Most NFL draft analysts have slotted Michel as a top-five available running back.
Michel will have an opportunity to impress scouts soon as the NFL combine will get underway on Feb. 27, with on-field drills taking place on March 3. Michel has already impressed Schrager, who likened the Georgia standout to a certain New Orleans Saints running back.
"I'm watching him here, he's graceful, he glides, he can hit the hole but he can also hit the second (level)," Schrager said. "He, a little bit, reminds me of Alvin Kamara. I don't want to throw out those comparisons, but he's lightning to thunder, just like Kamara was lightning to Mark Ingram's thunder."
Michel's draft stock rose considerably toward the end of the season. Michel's ability to catch passes out of the backfield and to pass protect effectively have made him a coveted back.
Time will tell on whether Michel will end up following in a former position mate's footsteps. The last Georgia running back to be selected in the top 10 was Todd Gurley, who the Los Angeles Rams, then located in St. Louis, took No. 10 overall in 2015.
"I really like Sony Michel. I think he can go as high as top 10," Schrager said.