He was one of the running back standouts at this weekend’s NFL Combine and at least one mock draft that I’ve seen has Christine Michael being selected by the Green Bay Packers in the fourth round of this coming April’s Draft.
And while many may look at his seemingly unusual first name (it’s pronounced Chris-TIN) as a first strike against him, there are other issues that have arisen over the past couple years, concluding this past weekend when he overslept and missed a couple of team interviews. Other checks against the guy is that he’s been injured (a broken leg in 2010 and a torn ACL in 2011). But when he was on the field for Texas A&M, he was productive.
As a freshman he gained 844 yard, had 10 touchdowns and started strong again his sophomore year with three straight 100-yard games before he broke his leg. In his junior year he gained 899 yards and eight touchdowns before blowing out his knee.
However, he seemed healthy when he turned heads this past weekend, despite the fact that his alarm clock didn’t work so well. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.54; he bench pressed 27 times (fourth best); he leaped 43 inches in the vertical leap (first among running backs); his broad jump was 125 inches (tied for second); he ran the 20-yard shuttle in 4.02 seconds (first); ran the three-cone drill in 6.69 (first) and ran the 60-yard shuffle in 11.56 seconds.
We all know that the Packers’ running game needs a jump start. It’s unclear whether the Packers will bring back Cedric Benson after he was injured early in the season last year. Also injured was James Starks and it’s unclear what his status will be by the start of training camp in July. Alex Green, who became the Packers’ defacto starter after Benson went down, didn’t seem to get into a groove, though he was coming off an injury himself. DuJuan Harris, who joined the team in late November, turned out to be their best back, but he doesn’t seem to be the every-down answer.
Given the numbers put up at the Combine, Michael’s draft stock is sure to rise. That said, it’s doubtful he will be available to the Packers in the fourth round.
Michael could be an impact running back if he can stay healthy, but if his status rises enough in the coming weeks and is projected in the second or third round, he may not fall to the Packers. The team has other needs that most likely will be addressed in the first couple of rounds.
But Michael is an interesting back – one that will be looked at closely by many teams.
What do you think? Do the Packers need to pick a running back in the early rounds or do they need to fix the issues they have on the offensive and defensive lines first?
Let us know what you think.