With news breaking that Sony Michel had an arthroscopic procedure on his troublesome knee, the Patriots drafting Damien Harris in the third round makes more sense.
Jeff Howe of The Athletic reported on the Patriots’ spring practices on Tuesday, and one line stuck out: “Damien Harris had a strong spring. His performance in pads will be on the short list of things to watch in training camp because he has a chance to earn a prominent role during the season.”
This seemed like a beat reporter blowing smoke about a young player with very little chance to actually see the field. That was, until Howe reported this on Twitter on Wednesday:
For most players a knee scope would not be a major issue, as it is a minor arthroscopic surgery that only takes two or three weeks to recover from. Typically, athletes who undergo such a procedure could be back to running and even cutting within a month or two. However, this is a bigger deal because it is Michel who underwent the procedure.
Some may remember that Michel was pushed down many teams’ draft boards a year ago due to knee concerns. There were reportedly some teams who believed he had a bone-on-bone condition in his troublesome knee that might prevent him from having a long career in the NFL. One year later, he has gone back under the knife.
Enter Damien Harris. Harris was a third-round pick out of Alabama, where he started over the first running back taken in the draft, Josh Jacobs. Harris has been extremely durable and is a tough runner who will likely endear himself to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick with his intelligence and tough running style.
It appears that Howe’s statement about Harris earning a prominent role this season might end up being accurate — particularly if Michel struggles to stay healthy. If there is one thing the NFL and fantasy football communities have learned from Todd Gurley this offseason, it’s that nagging knee injuries rarely get better with time.
It might be a good idea for all fantasy football players to remember the name Damien Harris, especially if they are crossing their fingers and selecting Sony Michel.