Von Miller: 2011 NFL Draft Prospects
Outside Linebacker Von Miller (H: 6’3″ – W: 243 – College: Texas A&M)
From 1985 to 2001, Texas A&M made it to a bowl game in all but three seasons. In fact from 1990 to 1995, the Aggies finished the season in the top 15 in the final AP poll. Although far from a national powerhouse in recent years, the Aggies have returned to form as a consistent winner out of the Big 12 conference. Since 2007 Von Miller, then a four-star recruit according to Rivals.com out of DeSoto High School in Texas, has had an impact in bringing Texas A&M back to national prominence.
After his freshman and sophomore years in which he accumulated 66 total tackles, 11.5 for loss and 5.5 sacks, the light truly came on for Miller in a big way.
In 2009, Miller was named a first-team All-American by the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated. He led the nation in sacks that year (17), plus 21 of his 44 tackles were for a loss. The change in production occurred when he was moved to the “jack” position. This position functions as a hybrid defensive end / pass-rushing linebacker position for added pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
In 2010, the Aggies switched to a true 3-4 defense. Miller finished his senior season with 10.5 sacks and 17.5 tackles for loss. He was named a consensus first-team All-American and also won the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker.
Currently, no player has more positive hype heading into the Combine and NFL Draft than Miller. After a stellar week of practice in the Senior Bowl, Miller then had a great in-game performance which has NFL scouts and analysts proclaiming the his talents.
Strengths: Likely the best pure pass-rushing outside linebacker prospect in this draft pool. Incredible motor and fantastic blitzer. Terrific closing speed and a natural pass-rusher. Delivers big hits and makes good wrap-up tackles. Huge potential. No serious durability issues. Good bull-rush but best suited to take a wide angle to the quarterback, using his speed to his advantage. Had 27.5 sacks in his final two seasons. Simply abuses slower offensive linemen around the edge. Even if he does not sack or directly pressure the quarterback, he can influence the game by forcing the quarterback to step up into the pocket more and make bad decisions. Great straight line speed.
Weaknesses: Needs to improve change of direction. Sometimes rushes behind quarterback and takes himself out of play. Needs to learn to better read and react to run plays. Will get caught out of position as teams may choose to run at his assignment as he pass-rushes out of the play. Question marks surround his ability to play in open space and in coverage. May need a year or two of coaching to better understand when and where to attack. Slow acceleration. May not be an everydown player. Needs to get stronger. Will struggle covering backs and tight ends.