By Danny O’Neil
The rationale: The Seahawks ran more often than any team in the league last year. Starter Marshawn Lynch is coming off a career-year in which he rushed for 1,590 yards. He also turned 27, and while Seattle drafted Robert Turbin in the fourth round last year, the Seahawks have an opening in the backfield after the release of Leon Washington.
Michael is a powerful back, a blue-chip recruit from East Texas, who was the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year at Texas A&M in 2009.
“He’s our kind of runner,” general manager John Schneider said. “He’s a tough, intense, up-field, one-cut guy that’s a very good football player. A competitor.”
The risk: The Seahawks just drafted a player who suffered a broken leg in 2010, a torn knee ligament in 2011 and was de-emphasized after a coaching change in 2012. He had the least productive year of his college career as a senior. Oh yeah, he also slept through meetings at the scouting combine in Indianapolis back in February after taking too much cold medicine.
“I was terribly sick,” Michael said. “Even performing on that Sunday, I couldn’t give my best out there. I had flu-like symptoms, and I just felt bad. I felt terrible. I took that NyQuil and that Mucinex and it knocked me right out.”
The Seahawks are aware of all that, and obviously were comfortable enough with it to draft him.
“Much like all these guys, they’re young men, they’re growing up,” Schneider said. “So you’re trying to figure out their past and where they’re coming from and where they’re moving forward with life. He had a little rough stretch after he tore his ACL and he had a new staff and went through a whole offensive change.”
Michael was suspended for the second game of his senior season for a violation of team rules, and he produced further scrutiny by Tweeting, “Man run the ball,” during that game in which he was suspended. He did not play in the team’s bowl game, the result of a coach’s decision.
The bottom line: “He’s a really explosive back. One-cut, downhill, runs through arm tackles,” said Matt Berry, the Seahawks’ Southwest area scout. “Really good balance on contact. He’s just an explosive NFL back. He’s got a lot of talent. It jumps off the tape.”