Texas A&M OLB Von Miller

Why I Think We'll Take Von Miller and Why I Don't Like It

With the draft getting closer and closer, speculation will get greater and greater as to whom the Bills are leaning towards with the 3rd overall pick.  As much as I’d like to get myself really excited with the news of Champ Bailey’s extension in Denver and how LSU CB Patrick Peterson will still be on the board for us, I’ve already accepted the fact that he probably won’t be the pick come April.

After reading into it (albeit excessively), all the signs point to us identifying Texas A&M product Von Miller as our first choice in 2011.

First off, you look at the need factor.  The team definitely has uncertainty at the all-important rush LB position in a 3-4.  Our pass rush was non-existent and we need to find one in a hurry.  I’m excited about Shawne Merriman, but he’s been so plagued by injuries in recent years.  As much as I like Arthur Moats as a pass rush specialist, he’s not an every down player.  Chris Kelsay is aging and is an overall average player.

Next, you look at production.  Before the draft last year, Buddy Nix belabored the point that he looks for guys that have been successful at every level.  Miller has tallied 28 sacks the past two seasons and won the Butkus Award.

Add in the facts that Chan Gailey was practically glowing about him at the Senior Bowl and that Adam Schefter reported he will most likely be a Top 5 pick, and Miller might as well start looking for a house here.  He’s a personable, weight-room guy that has all the intangibles.

Despite his pass-rushing prowess, I don’t feel that Miller will translate to the NFL.  He’s just not big enough to hold up against the run.  He’s willing, but at 236 (probably will be around 244 during weigh-ins this week) he won’t be able to anchor consistently.  I view him as a guy that will come in and get some production, but it won’t be consistent and he won’t be an every down player.  At this point, I really want to give him a higher grade, but I just can’t justify it.  He’s currently sitting at 8.4 (which translates to a 3rd round grade).  Until I feel confident he can be an every-down player, I can’t give him a starter’s grade.  He has the tools and work ethic to develop into something much more, but he’ll need to bulk up and get stronger at the point of attack if he wants to come even close to matching his draft status.

Here’s my report:

§ Hard worker that lives in the weight room.  The word “shredded” gets thrown around a lot about him

§ Good recognition ability

§ Hustle guy that keeps going until the whistle

§ Wish he had more pass rush moves.  He relies too heavily on the speed rush.  He has to learn how to test a tackle in other ways, though his speed rush can be devastating

§ Can be a liability against the run.  That dang speed rush of his gets him brutally out of position at times.  It’s not that he isn’t physical, which he is.  He just can’t consistently hold up at the point of attack against the guy he’s lining up against.  Physical guys can just overpower him

§ He can get into the backfield in a hurry

§ Miller is a really tough read.  He has great burst and has the production, but I’m not convinced his skill set will translate to the pro game.  He can’t consistently play the run and, while he’ll pick up a handful of sacks a year with his speed, the NFL boasts much more athletic tackles than the collegiate game.  He’s a guy you’re rooting for, but I think he can only be graded as a good contributor at this point.  He has the upside to become a starter, but he needs to develop into a more complete player.

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