After being inserted as a starter last season, linebacker Matt Milano continued to improve every single game and became an impact player by season’s end. While not the biggest player at 6-feet-tall and 220 pounds, Milano is of the new breed of linebackers in the NFL where they are smaller but are more versatile and faster.
At Boston College, Milano also saw time as safety and that helps tremendously in coverage as linebackers are asked to match up more and more on passing downs. His coverage ability is showcased here by his first career interception in Week 7 against Tampa Bay. Milano does a very good job of reading Winston’s eyes and staying with Brate on the route to force the turnover.
His ability to make plays on defense is also evident here with his fumble return for a touchdown in Week 8 against Oakland. He has big-play ability as a defender and a nose for the ball. His experience playing safety and linebacker greatly helps him understand coverages and be able to stick with tight ends, running backs and the occasional receiver.
Last season, Milano was taken in the fifth round (No. 163 overall) by the Bills and played a surprisingly large role as the season went on. He played in all 16 games, starting five and racked up 43 total tackles. His five starts came in the final five games of the season.
As a full-time starter this season, every single one of his numbers should increase as he becomes one of the key figures in the starting lineup. The improved defensive line in front of him should also help plays be made.
Milano certainly complements Tremaine Edmunds well in the middle because they can each do things well. Edmunds is a strong tackler and a massive human being while Milano is solid in coverage and is quicker and smaller. They are both obviously extremely young and can grow and learn together under Sean McDermott to create one of the best linebacker groups in the NFL.