Miller emerged as the starter in 2011 as a sophomore (12 starts), finishing second in the ACC with 1,272 yards on 227 attempts (5.6) and 9 scores with 17 catches for 85 yards (5.0) and 1 touchdown, earning Second Team All-ACC honors. He decided to forego his final two seasons of eligibility and enter the 2012 NFL Draft.
Miller isn't overly explosive, but has very good speed with a second gear to run away from defenders ~ accelerates quickly once he finds room to run. He offers some versatility, lining up outside as a receiver and also contributing as a returner on special teams ~ tough through contact, but won't break a lot of tackles.
Miller is a smooth, one-cut runner, but is more fast than quick and doesn't have the short-area explosion to create in tight areas ~ an upright runner and talented athlete who runs like a poor man's Jamaal Charles and has big-play ability, but he has questionable run instincts and some durability concerns.
Inside: Balanced athlete with dynamic start/stop ability and smooth change-of-direction skills to stay patient before bursting upfield. Has very good vision and cutback ability, doing a nice job finding the run lanes. Follows his blocks and stays patient behind the line of scrimmage.
Not overly explosive and goes down too easily, struggling to create on his own. Too patient at times and looks indecisive ~ questionable feel and instincts between the tackles. Freelances a lot and needs to allow the designed play to develop. Relies too much on the big play and needs to learn to be content with positive gains.
Outside: Accelerates and gets to top speed quickly when he sees daylight. Has nimble feet to make defenders miss and shows an extra gear to run away from them as well. Very good at forcing defenders to take poor angles with his lateral quickness and natural burst. Fast through the hole and a home run threat. Looks most comfortable on the outside and in space.
Breaking Tackles: An upright runner with a narrow frame ~ won't break many tackles. Has improved body strength and stays coordinated through contact ~ runs hard and fights for every yard. Lacks much strength to power through tackles and doesn't have the body type to withstand a heavy beating. Suspect ball security and tends to wear down over the course of a game.
Blocking: Wasn't asked to stay in the pocket much as a pass protector and needs extensive technique work in this area.
Receiving: Effective pass catcher with good ballskills and body control to make tough grabs. Had only 28 catches over his collegiate career and has limited experience in this area.
Intangibles: Has experience as a return man on kickoffs with 15 returns for 376 yards (25.1 average) and 1 touchdown in his career. Had good production in his two seasons at the college level with the third-best single season rushing total in school history in 2011 (1,272 yards) ~ nine career 100+ yd performances.
Has suspect durability, playing most of the past season with a shoulder issue and will struggle with injuries. Was part of a two-back system at Miami (only two games in his career of 25+ carries) and lacks the size to be a bell-cow back ~ started the 2011 season with five straight 100+ yd games, but finished with just two in the final seven games. Still growing at the position and is not yet a finished product ~ will he put in the necessary work to reach his potential?"
-- Dane Brugler
- Possesses a "plus" first step when asked to press the hole.
- Reaches top end speed quickly when accelerating into the second level and has the initial burst to outpace an angle.
- Showcases natural patience/feel at the line of scrimmage. Possesses the vision to pick his way through tight areas and quickly see the cut back lane.
- Exhibits "plus" foot quickness laterally with the fluidity in the hips to cleanly work the cut back lane back across the grain, square his body and attack up field.
- In tight areas does a nice job widening his base, keeping his footwork under him and taking compact steps. This allows him to keep his balance when changing directions and accelerate quickly in and out of his breaks.
- Drops his pad level well when asked to finish runs. Sees a crease and does a nice job making himself small, churning his legs and finishing through contact.
- Possesses good straight-line speed once he gets into the open field, looks like a mid 4.4 guy.
- Is very natural working perimeter runs. Is patient letting his blocks set up on the edge, working the grain and sticking his foot in the ground when he needs to get up the field.
- Is fluid enough on the edge to accelerate around the corner.
- Showcases the natural power and pad level to run through tackles once he gets a defender off balance.
- Has been very productive during his two seasons playing for the Hurricanes, rushing for over 1,200 yards and 5.6-yards per carry as a sophomore.
- Doesn't have a ton of wear and tear on his legs, with only 335 carries during his college career.
- Can catch the football out of the backfield. Looks natural adjusting to the throw, maintaining balance and creating after the catch.
What I don't like…
- Lacks an overly thick base and despite his 6-0, 212-pound frame looks thinner through the legs and durability is a bit of a concern.
- Tends to get upright as a runner initially when asked to press the hole and once he gets into daylight. This limits his ability to break tackles consistently inside and/or make defenders miss.
- His overall running aggression will run hot/cold at times. Will get caught almost going through the motions at times and I don't always see the violence I expect from him as a runner.
- Tries to be overly patient at times tip toeing his way to/through the line of scrimmage. Takes his fair share of negative plays trying to allow blocks to set up and gets caught slowing his feet in the backfield.
- Has a tendency to get content running laterally too often trying to outpace defenders when he doesn't feel a hole quickly.
- Picks his way through tight areas well, but I don't see a "plus" "make you miss guy" inside as he tries to run away from defenders too often because of it.
- Is still developing in blitz pick-up. Doesn't stay real patient/balanced into contact, which causes him to get upright and either lack power at the point of whiff on the block all together.
Impression: Possesses a good first step, a natural feel between the tackles and exhibits the cut back ability to slice his way up the field. However, looks more like an ideal fit for a zone-blocking scheme because he isn't a guy who is going to make a ton of NFL defenders miss or break many tackles inside."
Outside Running: Miller has the straight-line speed to make teams drool. He is very similar to LeSean McCoy as an outside runner as both have the burst to get to the edge before defenders take notice. He has a second gear that will not allow him to get caught from behind.
Hands: Miller didn’t get a ton of opportunities to show off his hands in Miami’s scheme but when he did, he was average. I don’t see him as someone that will have to come off the field on 3rd down but he will need to learn to catch with his hands. Too often he allowed the ball into his body and subsequently dropped a couple easy ones. With his speed he could be a major mismatch for linebackers and safeties if he can be counted on to haul in passes.
Blocking/Durability: Miller, like most collegiate backs, will have an adjustment period as a pass protector. He has the lower body strength to excel as a pass blocker but will have to learn to pick up blitzes from all over the field. Miller did suffer a shoulder injury that has nagged him throughout the 2011 season but with little wear and tear he should hold up just fine in the NFL.
Bottom Line: Miller would be an ideal fit for a zone blocking scheme and has the speed to cause an uproar during the pre-draft process. His blend of size, speed, and vision should find his name called in the late stages of round one or atop round 2.
Draft Projection: Miller is a late first to early second."
He started the season strong with five consecutive games of 100 yards or more rushing. He finished with seven games of 100 yards or more, capping his year with an incredible 79-yard run against Boston College. On the year, Miller had 1,272 yards rushing, averaging 5.6 yards per attempt.
Miller is one of those running backs with that cliched "second gear" when he gets into the open field. It's hard to recall a time when he was caught from behind on an open-field run. He's also shifty and can be hard to tackle. Find some notes on Miller after the jump.
- Gets through the alley impressively. Miller is a guy who can get up to speed in a hurry, helping him work through the hole well. Won't be caught from behind by many defenders.
- Is a really good one-cut runner. Displays nice agility to see a cut back lane, shift and work through it.
- Has a tendency to sometimes shuffle his feet too much before making his first move forward.
- Because of his shiftiness and ability to get fast quickly, Miller is an asset on pitch plays.
- Although he's not a big bruising running back, Miller can be hard to take down. He frequently sheds waist tackles and can quickly get his shoulders back square to the end zone to work forward.
- Despite how impressive his redshirt sophomore season was, Miller has only started one year. There are two ways to look at that. On the negative, he's inexperienced. On the positive, he has fresh legs if he chooses to enter the draft.
- Had 17 receptions this season but is still a little unproven as a receiver.
- Needs to improve as a pass blocker. Will take poor angles to the defender. When Miller engages, he's well enough, but he doesn't get to that point consistently enough."
True home run threat, gets a lot of comparisons to Lesean McCoy for his size, shiftiness, and overall style of play... Great moves in the open field, will break some ankles... Does a good job of avoiding big hits, very elusive, slips under tacklers... Great between-the-tackles runner for his size, has a good base and keeps his balance through arm tackles...
Smooth runner with nice long strides, looks like a natural... Above-average leg drive, will keep churning his legs after contact to get extra yards... Terrific vision, has a bit of a third eye, sees things develop before they're there... Finds the cut back lane easily... Has soft hands out of the backfield...
Runs good routes and catches the ball on the run, doesn't have to gear down to adjust to the ball... Should be able to contribute on all three downs with his ability to run between the tackles and contribute in the passing game... Does not have much tread on his tires, left after his redshirt sophomore season and only had 227 carries last year...
Consistent production, had 90 or more yards in nine of Miami's 12 games last year... Had six runs over 35 yards last year... has some experience in the return game which should help him get on the field early.
Negatives -- While he does a good job of trying to get extra yards, he doesn't have the size or strength to push defenders back, struggles to get off of linebackers... Marginal pass blocker, needs to improve in this area, will grab and tear at times... Suffered a minor shoulder injury in 2010 and had some lingering injuries in 2011...
Needs to be more decisive, if the hole isn't there, he won't cut up field as quickly as coaches would like to see... When he gets out of the hole and into the second level he raises his pad level and runs upright...
Injured his left shoulder in late September and played through the injury for most of the season, will undergo shoulder surgery following the draft."
With that combination of speed and size, Miller is a load to tackle and he rarely goes down on initial impact.
It often requires a lot more than just one defender to end the play when Miller has the ball.
Areas in which he could improve are blocking and receiving skills out of the backfield."