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Scouting Christine Michael

What are the Packers getting in Christine Michael? We turn to someone who knows.

The Green Bay Packers were awarded running back Christine Michael on waivers on Wednesday. Who are the Packers getting? Packer Report asked Rob Rang, who is a scout at NFL Draft Scout and covered the Seahawks for Scout.com.

1. You scouted Michael in college from your role at NFL Draft Scout. From a pure talent perspective, how good is Michael?

Complicated question. Michael has remarkable elusiveness to avoid defenders, using electric lateral cuts and explosive acceleration to get to the second level. He has a maddening tendency of tackling, himself, however, getting so wrapped up with his moves and forward lean that he simply falls over despite barely being touched, at times.

2. I think a lot of us outsiders were surprised he was released. He immediately popped up as a waiver-wire possibility for a Packers team starved for a running game. What’s the story with his release? Because generally, you don’t get rid of good players.

Michael possesses clear NFL athleticism but he is more sizzle than substance. He is overly reliant on his athleticism and didn't often enough run to and through the designated hole, raising questions about his preparation prior to the game and vision during it.

3. At his best, Michael ...?

At his best, Michael can make even good defenders look silly.

4. What’s the knock on his game that has prevented him from reaching his potential?

See the answer for No. 1

5. The Packers like their backs to be three-down players. How is Michael as a pass protector and receiver?

Michael deserves some credit for improving as a blocker and a receiver. He is not overly physical, however, and will make the occasional mental error in this regard. He can extend his arms and pluck the ball out of the air and can be dynamic in space.

6. Eddie Lacy will be a free agent. James Starks is 30. There’s no guarantee either will be back. Can Michael become a horse in the backfield? A complimentary piece? Or nothing more than a tease?
 
With the offense built around Rodgers and the passing game, Michael could surprise in this offense. Even after his well-publicized return to the Seahawks, however, Michael never showed the commitment necessary to take full advantage of his talent and be a consistent producer. As such, I have my doubts as to if he will ever prove a true workhorse. Given this year's potentially terrific running back class, I would expect the Packers to strongly consider using an early pick to boost the position.

Noteworthy

At 5-foot-10 and 221 pounds, Michael at the 2013 Scouting Combine ran his 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds with a 34-inch vertical jump and 22 reps on the 225-pound bench press. He has 9-inch hands but has fumbled only three times in 247 career touches. At Texas A&M, he sustained a broken leg in 2010 and a torn left ACL in 2011.


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