Sony Michel has been sidelined throughout Patriots OTAs, and we finally know why. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in the offseason, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic. Described as a simple cleanup procedure, OK, but knee surgery nonetheless.

There had already been talk that third-round rookie Damien Harris might have a significant role in the backfield, and this news won't quiet that talk. Makes sense to move Michel down some in the rankings, if you hadn't already done so. And if you do select him, make sure you protect that pick with Harris.

In the Belichick era, the Patriots have now drafted six running backs in the first three rounds. Four of the previous five had significant work as rookies; at least 100 total touches. The exception, Shane Vereen, had to deal with the back drafted a round later. He still went on to have a productive career with New England and elsewhere.

Table shows rookie numbers for those previous running backs.

2000376J.R. Redmond125406201265323
2006121Laurence Maroney175745221949397
2011256Shane Vereen155700571
2011373Stevan Ridley874413134541
2018131Sony Michel2099317509816
2019387Damien Harris??????

It's a guessing game trying to predict how New England will use its backs, but Harris looks intriguing -- nearly a must if you draft Michel.

--Andy Richardson