When Christine Michael was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the second round of the 2013 draft, it was a little bit of a surprise. The NFL is a constantly revolving door of new talent, but it seemed a bit odd to take a running back of the future when Marshawn Lynch was right in the middle of his prime.
Lynch skipped OTAs again this spring, but that is not unusual. Beast Mode does his own thing when it comes to certain team activities.
Michael, on the other hand, has been working hard and the Seahawks have even suggested that there might be a committee of running backs. Yeah, maybe.
Oftentimes a team with have a running back by committee when none of the runners are good enough to hold the starting job consistently. That is not the case in this situation.
Right now, Lynch is still the man. He had a better year in 2012, but he was no slouch in 2013 and Beast Mode remains one of the elite runners in the NFL.
The problem is that NFL running backs do not have a slow, paced decline. When they hit that age wall, production can go down extremely fast.
Lynch is 28, which for a running is starting to get into the later years. He might have two more productive seasons and then experience a major decline. If he keeps running, all the better.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks did not draft Michael to just sit on the bench. However, it may be a challenge to get the 23-year-old running back into the flow of the offense on a regular basis. A running game is about rhythm and that can be difficult when backs are swapped in and out on a regular basis.
Lynch is not going to just step aside and let Michael take his reps.
Realistically, Lynch is still going to get the bulk of the carries this year, barring injury. However, don’t be surprised if Michael’s touches inch up in anticipation of him taking over full time in 2015.
The NFL is not a sentimental league, and at some point Lynch may need to hand the baton to Michael. Or, the baton will just be taken from the man we call Beast Mode.