2016 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Braxton Miller
By Charlie Campbell
Summary: It is rare for running option quarterbacks to make a successful transition to wide receiver or another position in the NFL, whether it is Pat White, Terrelle Pryor or Tim Tebow. There have been many great college quarterbacks who couldn't make a successful transition to signal-caller or another position in the NFL. However unlike those players, Miller enters the 2016 NFL Draft having already flashed serious play-making skills at his new position to get evaluators excited about his pro potential.
From 2011-2013, Miller was an option quarterback for Ohio State. While he produced well as a runner and thrower, his passing skills indicated he clearly wasn't a future NFL quarterback. In 2014, Miller was out for the season with a shoulder injury while Ohio State won the National Championship with J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones playing quarterback.
Miller decided to return for his senior year and move to wide receiver. It was a superb decision for his NFL future. Even though the Ohio State offense was inconsistent, Miller flashed play-making potential, totaling 26 catches for 341 yards and three touchdowns in 2015. As a runner, the former quarterback picked up 234 yards on 40 carries and a score.
Miller made up for the lack of opportunities by going to Mobile, Alabama and dominating the Senior Bowl. He put on a show as he outplayed defensive backs all week and illustrated his dangerous play-making ability for the NFL. Miller used his explosive first-step and acceleration to constantly gain separation from defensive backs. They just couldn't run with him. He also showed nice hands in practice and adjusted well to the ball. Miller used his size to outfight defenders on 50-50 balls. He also showed talent to return kicks and punts. One thing that came across was that Miller plays with a real grittiness and an attitude that he wants it more than the opposition.
For the NFL, Miller could be a big-time play-maker. He has the explosive speed to separate from defensive backs, plus is very sudden and fast out of his breaks. That allows him to get open for his quarterback consistently. Once Miller has the ball, defenses are in trouble as he is very elusive as a runner and can make plays in all levels of the defense. He will run around, juke and zig-zag his way through defenders. Miller has ton of natural athleticism to make some highlight-reel plays.
Miller is a natural football player, but he will need development in all phases of being a receiver given his lack of experience. With good coaching, he should grow as a route-runner and blocker, plus become more consistent with his hands. A creative coach could get a lot out of Miller as a receiver, runner and returner.
For the NFL, Miller could be an excellent slot receiver to challenge nickel corners with his combination of size and speed. He also has the size to line up on the outside. With his running and returning ability, Miller could be a difference-maker for an offense.
In the 2016 NFL Draft, Miller could be a second-round pick. However, it isn't out of the realm of possibility that the hype machine could push him into the first round.
Player Comparison: Hines Ward/Tedd Ginn. If Miller lands with a good team and coaching that develops him well, I think he could be a Hines Ward-type wide receiver and play-maker. If Miller lands with a bad team, I think he could bounce around and end up being a player similar to Ginn. Miller could produce in the right environment, but some teams won't know how to get the most out of him.
NFL Matches: Cleveland, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, New England, Kansas City, San Diego, Washington, New York Giants, Detroit and Minnesota
There a lot of teams in the market for an upgrade at wide receiver. Staying in Ohio, the Browns are desperate for play-makers, and Miller could be a great addition for Hue Jackson at the top of the second round. The Bengals could lose Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones in free agency, so Cincinnati could target Miller as a potential replacement.
Houston needs more explosiveness for its offense, and Miller could be a nice weapon to pair with DeAndre Hopkins. The Texans also like to run wild-cat sets to offset their quarterback deficiencies, so Miller fits there. The Patriots need to improve their weapons for Tom Brady, and Miller would upgrade their receiving corps.
In the AFC West, San Diego needs a young receiver to replace Malcolm Floyd, while Kansas City could use more weapons to go with Jeremy Maclin.
The Rams need receiving help, but Miller might be too similar of a player to what they have in Tavon Austin. Staying in California, Chip Kelly could seek to improve the 49ers' receivers, and obviously, Miller could be used as a runner in Kelly's offense.
Miller could land with any of the NFC South teams. The Bucs could use a slot receiver and a replacement for Vincent Jackson. Carolina needs more receiving talent for Cam Newton. Atlanta has to find a replacement for Roddy White, and New Orleans is in the same situation with Marques Colston.
In the NFC East, the Redskins could have some turnover at receiver this offseason, and that could put them in the market for receiver help on draft day. The Giants have to get a complement for Odell Beckham Jr. as well.
Detroit lost Calvin Johnson to retirement, and that opens up a huge hole in the Lions' offense. The Vikings could move on from Mike Wallace, and Minnesota could use a receiver with some size to go with Stefon Diggs.
2016 NFL Mock Draft: Charlie's | Walt's
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2016 NFL Draft Scouting Reports
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