#10 DE/OLB, Von Miller (6’3 238 lbs.) – Texas A&M Aggies
Instincts/Recognition: Very instinctual athlete. Has the ability to recognize the run and come crashing down the line of scrimmage, or recognize the pass and make a B-line for the quarterback. Solid awareness overall. Recognizes when he has no chance to get to the quarterback and gets his hands up to deflect passes. Sniffs out screens on a regular basis, but will need to improve his diagnosing of routes when playing zone coverage. Doesn’t always process routes quick enough, which results in completed passes.
Strength/Toughness: Miller is light in the pants to say the least. Is known more for his speed than his strength. Coming in at only 238 pounds, means Miller has little to no shot at playing defensive end in the NFL. He will more than likely play the jack outside linebacker position in a 3-4 defense. Is not a physical tackler. Lacks an initial pop. Is more of a wrap up and pull down tackler. Does a good job of translating his speed into power on bull rushes and inside moves. Very tough individual. Played more than half of the 2010 season with an injured ankle, but fought through it.
Range vs. Run: Has sideline to sideline speed. Has been reported to run a 4.5 forty. Can track down ball carriers from the back side consistently. Shows the ability to extend his arms and shed blockers, but is only average at holding the point of attack. Takes poor angles at times. Sometimes takes too wide of an angle off the edge, leaving a gap between he and the defense tackle/defense end. Needs to do a better job with sealing the edge. Moves through traffic well. His speed allows him to make a ton of plays in the backfield.
Pass Rush: Even though its cliche to say, Von Miller is explosive. Gifted athlete who can bend the corner, flatten out, and cause havoc for opposing quarterbacks. Closing speed is outstanding. Favorite move is the outside speed rush. Uses the outside speed rush to set up a nice inside move. He does have a spin move and bull rush, but those need further development in order to be consistently effective. Relies on his speed to often and gets pushed behind the quarterback a lot. Translates his speed into power when attempting the bull rush, but would be more effective if he were stronger. Nonetheless, his production is off the charts. In the last two years, Miller has produced 26 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, 36 tackles for loss, and 11 pass breakups. Insane!
3rd Down Capabilities: 3rd down is where Miller holds value. Has the pass rushing skills to consistently pressure quarterbacks at the next level and is athletic enough to hold his own in zones coverage. Wasn’t asked to cover all too often in college, but there’s no doubt that with the right tutelage, he can become adequate in this department.
Intangibles: Team Captain. Clean off the field. Two time 1st team AP All-American selection. 2010 Butkus award winner.
Overall Stock: Teams will be salivating to get their hands on Von Miller at the 2011 NFL Combine. There is no doubt in my mind that Miller will wreck shop at the combine and improve his draft stock even more. For teams looking to add a bonafide pass rusher with production to prove it, look no further than Von Miller.
NFL Comparison: Elvis Dumervil