He's very sudden and quick when attacking up the field and does a great job working the inside shimmy initially, planting his foot in the ground and exploding up the field. Closes quickly on the quarterback once he gains a step and has the lower body strength to fight his way through contact. Possesses good body control and fluidity when asked to change directions and definitely has some lateral quickness to his game as a pass rusher. However, he isn't nearly as effective once an opposing lineman is able to get his hands on him, as he tends to lose balance at times and can be easily kept at bay. Lacks ideal power on his bull rush, allows his pad level to get too high and struggles to disengage through the contact. But, he does display above-average strength in his hands and does a nice job extending his arms into blocks, keeping himself clean and suddenly disengaging from opposing linemen when trying to work his way inside initially off the snap.
Struggles to stack and shed in the run game. Lacks ideal power on contact and doesn't exhibit the base to sit into his stance, hold the point of attack and shed blocks vs. opposing linemen. Is easily sealed from the ball and can at times be handled by the tight end. However, has showcased impressive fluidity and quickness in coverage this year when asked to drop off in zone and not rush the passer, which really helps his stock as a potential 3-4 rush linebacker. Fought through an early season ankle injury and displayed the type of passion and toughness to play through it despite the fact he wasn't 100 percent. Got healthy as the year went on and was one of the most dominant pass rushers during the second half of the season in all of college football.
Impression: An explosive pass rusher who has the awareness and first step to consistently win off the snap. Definitely has the ability to be a productive pass rushing 3-4 OLB at the next level. He just needs to continue to polish his game and learn to use his hands a bit better when engaged."
Run Defense: Improving against the run, but must be more consistent to become an elite all-around player. Plays with more strength than expected; is adequate grounding his hold on the move when engaged but still loses his balance. Willing to lower his shoulder against pulling guards to fill inside gaps. Teams take advantage of his continual edge rushing to get a running lane outside. Overruns plays with aggressive angles and a lack of focus on the ball. Crashes down on plays if he senses an inside run, but lacks the explosive punch to knock back fullback or tackle blocks. Inconsistent chaser on the back side, could increase his tackle production with more effort.
Pass Defense: Could excel in this part of the game because of his fluidity and quickness, but is still raw in coverage. Mirrors running backs and tight ends off the line into the flat and downfield. Athletic enough to drop deep, keeps one eye on the running back and the other on the quarterback. Is not aware of receivers behind him, however. Needs to get his hands up into passing lanes more consistently when unable to reach the passer. Must improve his hands for the interception.
Tackling: Strong upper body and closing speed make him an explosive tackler who is tough to elude in the backfield. Loads up on ballcarriers, though sometimes leaving his feet, to force fumbles. Chase effort is mixed, though, will stop four five steps from a play of he thinks his teammate will take care of the play instead of adding himself to the pile. Makes a number of shoe-string tackles when facing elusive runners, gives full effort to bring the man down. Doesn't disengage often enough to make tackles against the run, though he will crash down to close a gap.
Pass Rush/Blitz: Greatest area of strength of this stand-up defensive end. Extremely quick around the corner. Gets skinny to penetrate when shooting the inside gap. Elite closing speed to the quarterback, explodes to drive them into the ground or uses his length to wrap up even the most mobile passers. Dips shoulder to get under the pads of taller tackles, shortening the pocket. Feels cut blocks and uses his hands and quickness to beat them. Good arm-over, spin, and outside-in change-up moves to get his man off-balance after turning the corner on previous plays. Average strength and hand usage to free himself after initial contact. May push man off-balance once getting him moving up the field, but too often stopped after his first move when facing opponents with good lateral movement. Capable of leveraging tackles back into the pocket, but lacks great length or bulk to take on massive NFL tackles.
Intangibles: Maturing as a leader and person throughout his career at A&M. Has no major character or off-field issues. Given one of three team Weightlifter of the Year awards in April 2010 as a reward for his hard work in that area."
Instincts/recognition: Miller is a “see ball, get ball” athlete who coaches can let loose. If he’s put in a system where he can freelance, he should be fine. But Miller’s play recognition skills are only decent. He should improve here facing more-complicated looks in the pros. If he doesn’t, it will be hard for Miller to live up to his eye-popping college stats.
Pass rush: Miller was the “joker” for A&M, a hybrid linebacker/defensive end position that allowed him to stand up near the line of scrimmage. The pass rush is where he’ll make his money in the NFL and perhaps garner him a first-round position. Miller is aplomb at working to the outside because of his great first step and follow-up speed. He’s surprisingly strong working to the inside and gets good natural leverage due to his height. But if Miller comes out of his stance too high, offensive linemen can easily neutralize him in space. Miller has a variety of pass rush moves, his best being an inside spin.
Pursuit/Lateral movement and agility: Miller is tenacious in pursuit as long as he’s free to run around. He has good range and lateral fluidity. Has good playing speed for a linebacker to close on the ball carrier. Needs to show more anticipation as he’ll often run himself out of a play.
Quickness: Possesses great quickness off the snap. This is by far Miller’s best feature. Is quick with his footwork and handwork. Can get up to his full speed in an instant. Very explosive out of a two-point stance.
Run defense: Because of what he was asked to do at A&M, Miller is behind the curve in run defense. Looked better in run defense as a senior, but still gives up too much space to the outside. Needs to learn to play more contained and fill gaps. Gets held up by power linemen, especially guards pulling. Because he can’t anchor, teams can elect to run at Miller and have success.
Strength/Ability to shed blocks: Is the kind of player who prefers to run around blockers instead of through them. Doesn’t have the lower body strength to anchor and hold up on the line of scrimmage. Because of that, Miller can be washed out of plays. Is fairly strong in his upper body to hit and tackle.
Final word: Miller is going to make a lot of money thanks to a player like Clay Matthews of the Packers’ They’re very similar in that they played a hybrid pass rusher position in college.
But if Miller wants to succeed like Matthews has, he has some work to do. Matthews left USC at a similar size as Miller, but he’s bulked up 15 pounds since then. Miller will have to do the same so he can better play the run and handle the load of a 3-4 linebacker. Right now, Miller just doesn’t have the lower body strength to consistently play his side of the field.
Will enter the NFL raw in pass coverage and suspect against the run. Was mostly used at A&M as an upfield player and will start his pro career in the same role. If a team needs someone to purely get after the quarterback, that’s Miller. He could be a big-time mover up draft boards, similar to Matthews two years ago and Koa Misi in 2010.
Struggled early in his senior season due to a knee sprain. Really came on toward the end of 2010 with eight tackles in his final six games. Finished the year with 10.5 sacks."
Needless to say, he’s had quite an impact since then.
Miller's 3-4 experience will only benefit him in the NFL.
He broke out in 2009, picking up 17 sacks to go along with 43 total tackles. As a senior, he recorded 11 sacks, but jumped up to 68 tackles and also had an interception.
Miller has emerged as one of the top pure pass rushers in this class. While he’s still very raw in some areas, his technique is above average for a player his age. Miller has great explosion off the snap and uses an array of moves to help himself get past his man and into the backfield, making him very disruptive. He has great speed for his position, and is already benefited by playing in a 3-4 base defense at Texas A&M. It’s not often you find a true 3-4 outside linebacker that can make the plays that Miller is capable of. He can run with receivers and running backs, and has great closing speed with a nose for the ball. Miller emerged as the leader of the Aggies’ improved defense this season, and still has much more room to grow as a player.
Miller doesn’t possess ideal size for a player at his position. His relatively small stature likely will limit him to playing strictly linebacker in the NFL. He’s an elite pass rusher, but struggles a bit against the run. Miller’s strength is a question, and he’ll certainly need to bulk up in order to compete at a high level as a pro. He will have a tough time going against some of the bigger tackles in the NFL. His pass coverage skills need work, but it’s an area in which he’s significantly improved in his two years since becoming a full-time starter. At times he plays a bit too stiff, and in the occasions in which he puts his hands down, he struggles to stay low, often jumping up out of his stance, and getting pushed back in the run game.
With so many teams in today’s NFL playing with a 3-4 defense, having an elite pass rushing outside linebacker is essential. Miller can make an impact from day one in that department. While he certainly can improve in several areas, he’s skilled and athletic enough to translate quickly to the next level. Bulk is one of the easiest areas in which to improve, and you can be certain that Miller has already begun the process of getting himself an NFL body. At this point, he seems like a lock to go in the first round, and could realistically be taken as high as 10th by Washington or 11th by Houston.
NFL Player Comparison: Elvis Dumervil"
Positive: Explosive and athletic linebacker with a tremendous amount of upside. Breaks down well, fluid moving in every direction of the field, and displays a terrific burst of speed. Rarely off his feet, immediately alters his angle of attack, and makes a lot of athletic plays. Shows the ability to pursue and catch the ball carrier from the backside, relatively instinctive, and flashes ability as an open field tackler. Smooth turning his hips, gets depth on pass drops and shows skill in coverage. Explodes up the field rushing the passer, fast off the edge out of a three-point stance and makes a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage.
Negative: Lacks great bulk and tends to take wide angles around blockers rather than fight them head-on. Does not always play with a physical nature.
Analysis: Coming into the season many considered Miller one of the best 3-4 outside linebackers available in the draft. But after his off-season performance at the Senior Bowl and combine, most now grade Miller as the best linebacker for any system at the next level. He's a three-down defender with a complete game who just needs to fine tune the details of his position but should be an immediate starter at the next level."
"My Argument Against Von Miller "
By: Justin Onslow
"The Jacksonville Jaguars are the worst offenders. The Denver Broncos aren't far behind. The Browns and Lions are at the other end of the spectrum, while the Packers and Steelers seem to have gotten it just right. If you can't figure out the riddle, I don't blame you. It doesn't make much sense out of context. But mention Robert Ayers and Derrick Harvey versus LaMarr Woodley and Clay Matthews and the picture gets a little clearer.
The theme is pass rushers, and how good teams evaluate them in the draft. While successful teams choose wisely, the other guys stockpile overvalued pass rushers with big sack totals in college who never seem translate to the NFL game. Examples of those overrated pass rushers surface in the early rounds every year, and the usual teams tend to take a flyer on them in hopes of landing the next Julius Peppers or Lawrence Taylor. Some front offices have an eye for talent, while others luck in to big-time playmakers.
The bottom line is, every draft class is riddled with pass-rushing specialist with a “high ceiling” and a lot of sacks under their belts and the college level. Those stats don't always translate to big Sunday performances. Von Miller is one such player that will struggle to succeed at the next level, despite being highly touted as a potential top pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Miller caught the eye of NFL scouts during the 2009 season when he led the nation with an astounding 17 sacks in 11 games, and showed a flair for getting to opposing quarterbacks with speed and quickness on the outside. But apart from Miller's sack total, nothing else stands out.
This season, Miller has recorded just six sacks, which should be a red flag for a player some consider to be the best pass rusher in this year's draft class. Apparently the numbers haven't sent red lights flashing in the brains of several top draft analysts, but I'm hearing sirens. And explosions. The sounds of a big train wreck on the horizon. Simply put, Miller is a one trick pony. His strength lies in the sheer volume of pass rushing attempts. On film, it appears all Miller is really put on the field to do is get after the quarterback, which in its own right is not a bad thing at all. However, the amount of times Miller can be seen bolting off the edge is a very big reason for his impressive sack numbers a year ago. He doesn't drop into coverage well, and has trouble playing the run. His overall instincts at the linebacker position are average at best.
He is a one-dimensional player with a very limited arsenal of pass-rushing moves. At 243 pounds, Miller will never be the type of rusher to steamroll an offensive tackle or get through a double-team on the outside, and he certainly won't be one to fight through traffic in the middle of the line. His forte is the speed rush, and at the NFL level, the game just moves a lot faster. If Miller were to show more precision on his angles to the quarterback, he could be a much more effective rusher, which is not something that can't be taught. However, at this point, Miller appears to be a very unrefined pass rusher. Against Texas last season, Miller blitzed profusely, and rarely got a hand on Colt McCoy. He was pushed away from the pocket on far too many occasions, and found himself upfield and away from a great number of rushing plays to his side. He just has not displayed the kind of pass-rushing moves he will need to succeed in the NFL in any system, and relies on an outside speed rush that leaves him highly susceptible to a little nudge to push him away from the play.
Miller is not a legitimate top pick prospect, especially for teams looking for an immediate-impact starter or situational edge rusher. Perhaps in a few years, with the right coaching, Miller can be a productive pass rusher at the next level. He has the speed and the quickness to outmaneuver 300-pound tackles in the NFL. But without the proper technique and a larger arsenal of pass-rushing moves, he could end up being just another Jaguar or Bronco with no position and no production."
Weaknesses: On the lean side and still needs to get bigger & stronger, though he doesn't have the frame to fill out much more. Will never be able to set the edge against bigger OTs. Overaggressive and can be victimized by play action and bootlegs. Not as effective as a pass rusher in 2010 as he was in 2009, when he led the nation with 17 sacks.
Projection: Mid-first round pick, possibly top-ten. Ultra-elite outside rusher has a pro bowl future as a 3-4 OLB. Quality person and player, and a big-time contributor from day one."
However, it was in 2009 when Miller really came into his own and his All-Big 12 First-Team accolades are well deserved. During the regular season, he totaled an impressive 21.0 tackles-for-loss and 17.0 sacks. On a defense that often struggled against superior Big 12 South opponents, those are some impressive numbers. But Miller is more than simply a pass rusher, he also broke up five passes during his junior campaign. Miller needed to return to school for his senior season to prove to scouts that he was not a one year wonder. Ten games into his senior campaign, Miller has done just that. He has not put up nearly the same numbers as he did a year ago, but he has performed just as well week in and week out.
At 6-3 and 240 pounds, Miller needs to find the right system in the NFL. He played in a 3-4 defense at Texas A&M and NFL teams that play a 3-4 will like the fact that he has experience in that system, especially since few teams in college football play a 3-4. That should make him a solid first or second round selection."
The Butkus Award semifinalist is in many ways the first and last line of defense for the Aggies; he’s dominant enough to shutdown the opposition’s passing game with his disruptive abilities. To take advantage of Miller’s playmaking skills and versatility A&M will move him around the defense, as the hybrid defender has lined up at almost every position in the front seven. Miller is truly a terror to deal with is when he is rushing the passer. In 2009 the Texas native led the nation with his 17 sacks, which also happened to be one more than the entire Aggie defense registered in 2008…that’s the type of impact he can have.
Many believe the linebacker is the most athletically gifted player on the Texas A&M roster. He does more than just sack the quarterback, looking to make the strip when he does get there (four forced fumbles) and getting his hands up when he doesn’t (five passes defended). Tipping the scales at 240 pounds Miller is clearly light in the pants for a 3-4 linebacker. He has excellent size for college defender but not the pros. His draft stock will have to contend with the fact that there are going to be bigger, stronger, and faster players at his position. While he has done fine work at the college level playing with his hand on the ground at times, it’s hard to imagine Miller providing much production playing in the trenches against NFL offensive linemen. Yes Miller is undersized, but his instincts as a pass rusher will make him a hot commodity come draft week. Whether it will be as a first or second round pick remains to be seen."
He's a special talent who hobbled on a bad ankle early in the season and did not produce the sack numbers he did a year ago, when he led the nation in sacks. He could warrant looks as a speed rusher in a fast-flowing "40" front but is most well-versed outside in a "30" front, where he has been a blur blazing into the backfield. He would start yesterday for most NFL teams and easily could fit into the top 10."
Von Miller is the Real Deal.
Tremendous Anchoring Power, allowing him to sustain Gravitational Integrity when he rushes the Edge.
His is THE most dangerous Pass Rusher in this entire Draft Class.
And he can drop into Coverage fluidly and rapidly, as well...although you can be damned sure he can be Run on.
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