My Argument Against Von Miller
By: Justin Onslow
November 16, 2010
Von Miller
The Jacksonville Jaguars are the worst offenders. The Denver Broncos aren't far behind. The Browns and Lions are at the other end of the spectrum, while the Packers and Steelers seem to have gotten it just right. If you can't figure out the riddle, I don't blame you. It doesn't make much sense out of context. But mention Robert Ayers and Derrick Harvey versus LaMarr Woodley and Clay Matthews and the picture gets a little clearer.

The theme is pass rushers, and how good teams evaluate them in the draft. While successful teams choose wisely, the other guys stockpile overvalued pass rushers with big sack totals in college who never seem translate to the NFL game. Examples of those overrated pass rushers surface in the early rounds every year, and the usual teams tend to take a flyer on them in hopes of landing the next Julius Peppers or Lawrence Taylor. Some front offices have an eye for talent, while others luck in to big-time playmakers.

The bottom line is, every draft class is riddled with pass-rushing specialist with a �high ceiling� and a lot of sacks under their belts and the college level. Those stats don't always translate to big Sunday performances. Von Miller is one such player that will struggle to succeed at the next level, despite being highly touted as a potential top pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Miller caught the eye of NFL scouts during the 2009 season when he led the nation with an astounding 17 sacks in 11 games, and showed a flair for getting to opposing quarterbacks with speed and quickness on the outside. But apart from Miller's sack total, nothing else stands out.

This season, Miller has recorded just six sacks, which should be a red flag for a player some consider to be the best pass rusher in this year's draft class. Apparently the numbers haven't sent red lights flashing in the brains of several top draft analysts, but I'm hearing sirens. And explosions. The sounds of a big train wreck on the horizon. Simply put, Miller is a one trick pony. His strength lies in the sheer volume of pass rushing attempts. On film, it appears all Miller is really put on the field to do is get after the quarterback, which in its own right is not a bad thing at all. However, the amount of times Miller can be seen bolting off the edge is a very big reason for his impressive sack numbers a year ago. He doesn't drop into coverage well, and has trouble playing the run. His overall instincts at the linebacker position are average at best.

He is a one-dimensional player with a very limited arsenal of pass-rushing moves. At 243 pounds, Miller will never be the type of rusher to steamroll an offensive tackle or get through a double-team on the outside, and he certainly won't be one to fight through traffic in the middle of the line. His forte is the speed rush, and at the NFL level, the game just moves a lot faster. If Miller were to show more precision on his angles to the quarterback, he could be a much more effective rusher, which is not something that can't be taught. However, at this point, Miller appears to be a very unrefined pass rusher. Against Texas last season, Miller blitzed profusely, and rarely got a hand on Colt McCoy. He was pushed away from the pocket on far too many occasions, and found himself upfield and away from a great number of rushing plays to his side. He just has not displayed the kind of pass-rushing moves he will need to succeed in the NFL in any system, and relies on an outside speed rush that leaves him highly susceptible to a little nudge to push him away from the play.

Miller is not a legitimate top pick prospect, especially for teams looking for an immediate-impact starter or situational edge rusher. Perhaps in a few years, with the right coaching, Miller can be a productive pass rusher at the next level. He has the speed and the quickness to outmaneuver 300-pound tackles in the NFL. But without the proper technique and a larger arsenal of pass-rushing moves, he could end up being just another Jaguar or Bronco with no position and no production.

(January 12, -- In a couple of somewhat surprising decisions, junior WR Michael Floyd of Notre Dame and Oklahoma State sophomore WR Justin Blackmon have both decided to return to school next fall rather than enter the 2011 draft; both had been considered to be solid first-round prospects for the upcoming draft.
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