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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  • bryan smith

    So about him not being big enought let look at a few nfl linebackers heights and weight…

    Patrick Willis 6’1” 240
    James Harrison 6’00” 242
    Ray lewis 6’1”250
    Demeco Ryans 6’1” 250
    Von Miller 6’3 243

    so where isnt he big enough to stop the run?
    i know you want patrick peterson, but what impact will he have imediately not as much as a line backer who can stuff the line of scrimmage and make some plays im all for von miller. We have a good offense and an abysmal defense lets fix that with the right personel

  • Matt Cooper

    It’s not necessarily the number I’m concerned about, but body types. He has thin legs, which will hurt him when trying to anchor against the run. You also have to keep in mind that player’s “listed weights” are not always 100% accurate. Don’t really rely on the weights, just look at the players.

    Patrick Willis is a rare, Hall of Fame-type talent. He has so much speed and quickness that he makes it tough for blockers to keep their hands on him (if they can even manage to do so). He shoots the gap 100 mph. As weird as it may sound, look at his legs. They are huge because he has a lot of lower body strength.

    Look at your second LB James Harrison. He may be short, but look at his weight distribution. He has Earl Campbell legs. Well, probably not that big, but he is built so compact. Having below average height, “242″ for him is pretty filled out.

    Ray Lewis is not even in the same stratosphere as far as size goes. Again, I’m not really concerned about height. At 250, I doubt Von Miller will ever weigh in that high (maybe if he was wearing a 15 pound backpack). It’s the same situation with DeMeco Ryans.

    You also picked three inside linebackers. For inside backers, there’s more of a premium on being able to shed blocks and flow to the football. At outside linebacker, you need to have the ability to dig in and force the tackle (or tight end) back and get them off their assignment as well. That’s why it’s so rare to find that upper-echelon OLB in a 3-4. They have to be big enough to play the run like a DE, athletic enough to drop into coverage, and fast/quick enough to turn the corner and rush the passer.

    Let’s focus on some of the game’s top OLBs:

    Lamarr Woodley 6-2 265 (10 sacks)
    DeMarcus Ware 6-4 262 (15.5 sacks)
    Tambi Hali 6-3 275 (14.5 sacks)
    Terrell Suggs 6-3 260 (11 sacks)
    Cameron Wake 6-3 250 (14 sacks)
    Clay Matthews 6-3 255 (13.5 sacks)

    They are all guys that are big enough to be every-down players.

    As for wanting a cornerback, I believe there is a need at that position. McGee can’t stay healthy, Leodis is too inconsistent against double moves, and Florence is probably leaving via free agency. The only reason our secondary’s numbers were impressive is because of the fact we were 31st in passes attempted. With teams running the ball at will, there was no need to throw it. I agree with you that our defensive front is more pressing, but I wouldn’t want to take a player that I’m not confident in for the sake of it. It might look good on paper, but if, as Nix would say, “he can’t play a lick” then why take him?

    That’s obviously just my opinion, and most NFL draft experts say he’s the next Derrick Thomas.

  • indigosky

    WOW! i dont think you should evaluate anyone, you just repeat the stuff other people say, which there wrong. You say he is not an every down linebacker yet there were games were he was out there for 100 plays out of 108. the bills would be just fine drafting him, its just your obvious love for PP that is blinding you. OK OK we get you want perterson no one else. Its just your argument is pathetic at best. Also in his senior year and at the senior bowl he proved to be pretty good against the run and in coverage. You just read his junior year analysis, and as for his pass rushing moves he has several and thats enough. Oh man his legs are small, ok lets go and evaluate everyones legs in the NFL cuz that is the most improtant statistic ever. I will finish with this dude yea Bills go ahead and draft peterson he is a great player and i would be shocked if he fell past the bills. But dont write a hate article on a GREAT player just cuz you are scared they wont draft PP. GET A REAL JOB cuz you are not good a this one.

  • Matt Cooper

    Considering NFL Network’s Mike Mayock (among many others) have him graded as a Top 5 pick, I don’t really see how I’m repeating what everyone else says. Although you articulated your points so eloquently, there are some things you need to realize. First of all, he’s the best player on that defense and he’s playing against college offensive lineman. Obviously, he’s going to play most of the snaps at that level. The whole point of scouting is trying to project how effective they’ll be at the next level (although I can see how that would be confusing for someone who clearly doesn’t know what a statistic is). As for looking at the players legs, you also misunderstood what I meant. I was making the point they have more lower body strength and are able to anchor against the run more effectively.

    For your argument that I read someone else
    s reports from last season, I also don’t read any scouting reports before I watch games for myself because I try to go in with an unbiased opinion of players. I watched the tape on him and that’s what I thought of him.

    As for getting a “REAL JOB,” this actually isn’t a job at all. I’m a dual-major in accounting and finance in an accelerated MBA program that just contributes to the site when I think of something to write about. If you don’t like it, then don’t read it (even though I’m sure it made you feel real good about yourself posting that comment). I’m entitled to my own opinion, but next time I’ll shoot you an email first so we can talk it over. That way you won’t get so personally offended next time.

  • indigosky

    Oh man dude im sorry that came off harsh, i really do understand your opinion and you do make valid points, mostly my comment did sound harsh but it was alot of joking really. I was offended and dude Peterson is an awsome player and the bills should draft him. And i undertand the lowerbody argument man. And dude respect for what your doing in school man thats really cool. But 2 things. umm dont email me, and come on dude people are gonna coment on articles you dont need to comment back on comments on the article you wrote and dont share your personal life no one really cares. It just shows alot of insecurity, but for real good article, i did disagree a little but im not losing sleep and really i dont care, i just commented i dont think im important for commenting, but you obviously think your important for writing an article. calm down dude, you wrote a good article just deal with the comments. PS were you crying when you commented back to me

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  • Matt Cooper

    Haha wow…alright, let it go man. I don’t think I’m important for writing a football article. I’m not upset or bothered about anything, I was just continuing to defend my argument. I encourage it when people respond to my articles and I like interacting with readers, especially when they have a difference in opinion. I’d like to hear different points of view on an issue. I write these things for discussion, but if the reader wants to be overly vocal about something, I’ll respond back in those terms too.

  • wilsonrainn

    hahaha indigosky stick to flipping burgers or find an easier job because you obviously can’t juggle such a demanding career and follow sports. You made a valiant effort to switch from your weaker character traits (knowledge and logic) to your strong suit of crudely constructed insults. You don’t have to get defensive and as you suggested cry about it because someone has an opinion different from your own. You are what is wrong with America.

    That said, Miller is an excellent pickup. Rarely does a player come into the NFL prepared for pro ball, but with his established work ethic he has the drive and talent to succeed. Even if he doesn’t work out for Buffalo, like most (ugh), his prior reputation makes out to not be someone the organization would need to worry about putting on bench bulk and could be a nice bargaining chip in the future.

  • indigosky

    Wilsonrainn i really dont care dude, and dont judge me this is the internet im pretty sure you have said somthing that made someone think badly of you. Also dont start with the your whats wrong with America stuff, man you dont know me, and the flipping burgers comment once again you dont know me dude, this was just jawing about sports then you gotta go and make it personnal, yea and im whats wrong with America, once again you dont know me man so cut with that bull.

    that being said you know what yea i was wrong for sounding so harsh,(twice) but its just taking, the dude who wrote this obviously knows his stuff, man but its sports you talk #### to talk ####, but yea wilsonrainn that was weak and really everything that people come on the internet and say im the worst really. how bout this, Matt im sorry dude your obviously smart and i will admit it smarter then me and you write a good article, i was just talking out my butt. Wilsonrain you dont know me so dont comment on me again with that, just talk sports dude dont make it personal

  • Aggie Fan

    hey indigosky, man i like Miller too, im an Aggie fan so yea i think Von Miller is Awesome, and i do think Miller will dominate, and will be a great Linebacker and will be in the NFL hall of fame one day but yea everything you say comes off either angry or sarcastic even if your not trying to sound that way. but back on point i do disagree with this article to a point i think miller will be the best player out of the draft (hey im an Aggie so im biased, lol) but really i hope he falls past the bills cuz i would rather him play for zona or SF or dallas or houston(mainly dallas or houston but i dont think he will fall that far). But yea calm down man, yea what wilsonrain said was WAY over the line but you said stuff that was over the line too.

    And so yea bills can take perterson i hope he falls to a Dallas or Houston but the bills coaches sure do like him.