Stats show Sony Michel might be a perfect fit in the Rams offense

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Sony Michel hasn’t exactly lived up to the billing of a former first-round pick. He has 2,292 yards in three seasons (38 games), averaging only 60 yards per game. Not terrible numbers, but also not nearly as impressive as his former college teammate Nick Chubb, who went four picks later and has made the Pro Bowl twice.

But there’s reason to believe Michel will improve with the Rams. He won’t be a workhorse back or get 25 carries per game, but he should be much more efficient, similar to the way he was last season in New England.

This stat makes that easier to fathom, too.

According to Nathan Jahnke of Pro Football Focus, Michel led all running backs in yards after contact (4.2) on outside zone or man runs last year. The Rams, fittingly, ran the most outside zone and man rushing plays in the NFL last season at 69%.

A good match, needless to say.

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Michel still has to contend with Darrell Henderson Jr. at running back and also prove he can succeed on more than just outside zone/man runs. But he showed signs of improvement last season despite missing seven games – really eight, since he only got one snap in Week 12.

He gained 117 yards on nine carries against the Raiders in Week 3, and in the final three weeks, he rushed for 219 yards on only 36 carries (6.1 yards per carry).

It was a small sample size last year, but Michel ranked second in yards per carry (5.7) and yards after contact (2.42) among all running backs with 50-plus carries, according to Mike Clay of ESPN.

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Doug Farrar of Touchdown Wire pointed out on Twitter that Michel was more effective on zone runs last season, which fits well with the Rams’ offensive system. They ran the second-most zone plays last season.

On zone and split-zone plays last season, Michel had 45 carries for 263 yards, with 161 of those yards coming after contact, per Farrar.

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This isn’t to say Michel will become a Pro Bowler and lead the Rams with 1,500 yards rushing. But as disappointing as he was with the Patriots, there’s plenty of reason for hope with the former Georgia Bulldog.