Sony Michel is a much-needed addition to the Los Angeles Rams backfield, especially once the team lost Cam Akers for the year with a torn ACL. Rams general manager Les Snead clearly explored all options in the aftermath of Akers' injury, trading 2022 fifth and sixth-round picks for the former fist-round running back. The picks L.A. traded potentially become a fourth rounder, if the Rams get a compensatory fourth-round pick next offseason.
The Rams gave the New England Patriots a potential high Day 3 pick for a reason. Michel will play, but he's not expected to be the featured back in Los Angeles.
"That's going to be a complementary backfield," Rams general manager Les Snead said to reporters Wednesday. "What he does bring is this element of make a cut, get north and south and get north and south with some force. The physics that he brings to the table – let's call it a flavor of genre that we felt like complemented our group."
The Rams still have Darrell Henderson in their backfield, but not much else behind him. Jake Funk, Xavier Jones, and Raymond Calais were given a look during the preseason, even though it was clear the Rams needed an upgrade to spell Henderson.
Michel and Henderson compliment each other, similar to how Henderson did the same with Akers last season. Akers eventually took over the lead role, but Rams head coach Sean McVay prefers to have two backs in his offense -- hence the reason Michel will be vital for Los Angeles going forward.
"We identified Sony for many reasons," Snead said. "Number one, being his experience – and experience, meaning like a player who has carried the ball in big games and in those big games, where there have been big moments, big drives, big series – is the experience of where he played, how he was coached. So, he was one of those players. If we were going to go the route of experience, he was someone who would definitely eying him from the start."
The Rams are still trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together with their running backs, especially how Henderson and Michel will complement each other. Jones and Funk still will have roles in the backfield, but not as prominent as they were heading into Wednesday.
"I think we've definitely seen enough to go, 'Okay, in this take with Jake and Xavier that this is how they can contribute. Let's call it on Sunday night for the Rams. And this is how they might be able to contribute four or five weeks later,'" Snead said "So, we've definitely identified that. And again, now it comes in phases and stages.
"This may be a Sunday night against the Bears role. This might be more of a future role. And then all of a sudden, some unforeseen adversity occurs, or attrition and the role just changed and it's a more important role."
The Rams upgraded at quarterback but have major questions at running back after Cam Akers' Achilles injury. Can Los Angeles still get it done in the rugged NFC West? Download the CBS Sports app and get the latest news, insights, and surprising predictions from our team of experts. If you already have the CBS Sports app, favorite the Rams so you're always in the know.