Miami FL Sophomore
Has very good speed and explosive burst to hit the homerun plays. Does a nice job accelerating to the hole, hitting it quickly, and then able to bounce plays on the second level. Able to side-step a defender at the second level. Has quick feet, which allows him to filter through traffic between the tackles and on the edge. At times, will square his shoulders and lower the pads and run downhill to break arm tackles. Sometimes keeps his feet moving after contact to pick up additional yardage. Can make the grab in the flat. Also has potential as a kickoff returner.
Can be tentative about contact at the point of attack. Will stop his feet at times, and may not be a guy you can trust to get the tough yards, especially in short-yardage. Doesn't show great burst out of his cuts, tending to stop or slow his feet to change direction. Tends to try and bounce plays too much. Doesn't always finish his runs. Can have difficulty finding daylight, looking for the homerun rather than taking what defenses give him. Needs work in pass protection.
I only had a limited look at Miller, and in one game he looked Chris Johnson-esque, and in another looked more like Jerious Norwood. Miller definitely has the potential to be an explosive change of pace back, but if he plays at his best level, he definitely possesses the tools to be a top-end starter at the next level. As a 1-2 punch he has the potential to develop into a valuable runner. The issue for him is going to be whether he can be a reliable runner, particularly between the tackles to really develop into a starter. Durability is also an issue, and he'll need to get better in pass protection before he can earn significant reps. His shoulder injury from 2010 lingered into this year and required surgery at the end of the year.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/5) at Maryland: 18 att., 120 yds, 6.7 avg, 30 YAC, 0 TDs; 2 targets, 2 rec., 3 yds, 1.5 avg, 7 YAC, 0 TDs
(10/27) vs. Virginia: 16 att, 70 yds, 4.4 avg, 18 YAC, 0 TDs
2011: 12 GP/12 GS, 227 carries, 1272 yds, 5.6 avg, 9 TDs; 17 rec., 85 yds, 5.0 avg, 1 TD; 7 KOR-23.1 avg, 0 TDs
2010: 11/1-108-646-6.0-6; 11-96-8.7-0; 8-26.8-1
- missed 2 games in 2010 due to a shoulder injury
Miller has good potential that in the right scheme and system he can be a very valuable runner. The comparisons to Johnson aren't crazy. He has the sort of straight-line burst that will make him very difficult to catch in the open field much like Johnson. The difference is that Johnson has better vision, balance, and change of direction skills than Miller does. But Miller has the potential to get better, and I think had he stuck around for longer at Miami, we would have seen that develop. So he's a guy that definitely could have his best football ahead of him despite only playing one full year at the school. But even if he doesn't reach his full potential, I think he can be a valuable role player at the next level as a change of pace and No. 2 back. In that role, he'll probably mirror Felix Jones more than anybody else. Another good comparison will be Fred Jackson, who is also an explosive edge player that isn't great between the tackles. A key for MIller will be improving in the passing game, particularly in pass protection. Until he becomes competent there, his reps will be limited. He offers good value and potential as a receiver because his speed in the open field can be a dangerous weapon when working out of the backfield. But he'll only get those opportunities if he can showcase his ability to also protect. I think like Jackson, he can be a good productive runner that can be the lead back of a committee system. He's not going to be a workhorse runner and by no means should go to a team that wants to be a run-first team. But on a team like Buffalo that likes to spread the field in the passing game, and is looking for an explosive playmaker to carry the ball 10-15 times a game, Miller has definite upside.
Fred Jackson, Bills.
Miller definitely could add an explosive element to the Falcons running back position. But he's not really the tough in between the tackles runner that you want succeeding Turner as the lead back in the future. Instead, his success in Atlanta would likely require the team to adopt a more pass-oriented and zone-based ground game that wants to attack the edges as opposed to pound it up the middle. His lack of ability in pass protection won't hurt him immediately in Atlanta because of the presences of Rodgers and Snelling, but he would definitely need to develop in that area to reach his full potential down the road. As a rookie, potentially as a 5-carry change of pace runner he could be productive, although probably a bit hit or miss similar to how Jerious Norwood was in the past. But in time and with more growth, he could potentially develop into a 10-15 carry guy here in Atlanta. But you worry about the durability similar to Norwood, he doesn't have the ideal body to hold up for 16 games, especially if he's getting 15+ touches per game.
Miller's upside is such that if he had stayed another year at Miami, he probably would have been a first round pick in 2013. But since he's a year early, he's more in line with second round talent because there's no guarantee he's more than a solid, but inconsistent No. 2 runner.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.