Scouting Report: The Texas A&M Aggies Von Miller really made a great decision staying in school for his Senior year. In 2009 my main criticisms of Miller were his lack of technique as a pass rusher, and his inconsistency, especially when facing better tackles. He was always a high effort player but after 2009 Miller was basically a one year wonder, who's packed a ton of sacks into a few games against bad teams. By returning to school he's worked to overcome most of those issues. I was able to watch him very closely this season and where he was coming up short in terms of the technical side of his game, he's made big improvements. His range has improved and that's due in large part to him learning to take better angles, his tackling is much better, and his pass rush ability has gotten even better. Anticipation is better, explosion is better, and his move set is more diverse. He's really not the same player he was last year. He's playing a little lighter this year which lends him to the move to a 3-4 OLB where he's going to be ferocious. And with this increased technical skill I think his ability to drop and cover is going to be much more likely.
Draft Status: Last year I didn't think Miller would be a first round pick. This year Miller should be a solid first round pick. With his ability to play some 3-4 Rush OLB and assuming he has a good offseason and interviews he could well be picked in the teens. Whereas last year Miller wouldn't have compared too well with guys like Jerry Hughes and Sergio Kindle, this year he should be the guy others are compared to.
Final Analysis: Miller was a real mixed bag in 2009, blowing up in some games but doing his best David Copperfield impersonation when facing guys like Russell Okung. This year he's worked hard and improved as a prospect He's played more linebacker than end, so he's probably further along than some of the other rush OLB prospects. He still has work to do but do I think he has upside? You bet. He's got the build to be a star, and he's got the work ethic. That's a great combination but Miller is the type of player who's still going to need great coaching and a commitment to improving to realize his potential.
Reminds me of: Cameron Wake LB Miami Dolphins. Last year I compared Miller to Clark Haggans. Haggans has shown some flashes during his career, but still struggles with the technical part of playing NFL linebacker. He's athletic enough and works hard enough to stay productive, but you always look at Haggans and think there is a ton of untapped potential due to a low Football IQ. With another year under his belt Miller has answered some of those questions and more resembles a guy who's learnt to make better use of that athletic ability. Wake has had a fantastic year but even on limited evidence there's similarities to Von Miller.
Scouting Report written by Curt Popejoy