Broncos Draft Prospects: RB Lamar Miller

MIAMI - NOVEMBER 20: Lamar Miller #6 of the Miami Hurricanes runs for a touchdown during a game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Sun Life Stadium on November 20 2010 in Miami Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Another running back who has been connected to Denver, and may be atop their list according to Cecil Lammey, Is Lamar Miller. Lammey goes onto say that, he wouldn't be surprised if Denver took Miller in the first round. Miller who is listed at 5'11 212lbs attended The University of Miami. During his career there Miller tallied 1918 total rushing yards on 335 carries and 15 touchdowns. Miller also contributed in the passing game and special teams, with 28 catches for 181 yards and 15 kickoff returns for 376 yards. His most memorable college play came against Ohio State, when miller returned a kickoff for 88 yards for a touchdown on a dazzling play. Miller declared for the NFL Draft after Redshirt Sophmore season.

Millers finished up his 2011 season with 1272 yards rushing on 227 carries, with 9 touchdowns. Miller became the first Miami Hurricanes running back to atop the 1000 yard rushing mark, since current Denver Bronco and Miami Alum, Willis McGahee did it back in 2002. Miller earned Second-Team all ACC honors. Miller had a career best rushing output against the then, 17th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, where he totaled 184 yards.

Miller earned an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine.

  • 40 Yard Dash: 4.40(Was a top performer in this drill)
  • Vertical Jump: 33 inches

Combine Overview from NFL.com

OVERVIEW

Miller is an early-entry true junior from Miami who really surprised in 2011, his first year as a starter in Miami's offense. He had played sparingly in more of a scat back role prior to this year, but showed that he is a true starting tailback who possesses many traits of a first rounder. While there is debate about the risk behind investing an early round selection on a back whose shelf life is short, Miller has put together enough solid tape to garner a late first-round value and should continue to excite and ascend as he displays his athletic ability throughout the pre-draft process.

ANALYSIS

STRENGTHS Miller has track speed and actually ran a few anchor legs for the Miami track team prior to his junior year. Once in the open field, he is a threat to take it the distance and is not only a straight-line, long-speed runner; Miller has even more impressive quickness off the snap and in tight areas to avoid and stay productive. He is very smooth and impressive off the snap as he gets to top speed quickly and is able to pick his spots at full speed in a very effective way. He hardly ever gets stuck in the backfield and is reliable to get positive yardage on each carry. He is a very efficient runner who has a natural feel for maneuvering his way through the box.

WEAKNESSES Miller has only one full season of tape and was rather ineffective as a runner prior to this year. He relies on speed and leg drive to gain yards. He won't be able to juke linebackers at the next level or bail himself out of bad spots with his feet. He runs like a power back at times, which could be a liability in the NFL at his size.

CBSSports.com has Miler ranked as the 4th ranked Running Back in the class, and the 46th overall player in the entire 2012 draft class.

Analysis

Inside: Balanced athlete with dynamic start/stop ability and smooth change-of-direction skills to stay patient before bursting upfield. Has very good vision and cutback ability, doing a nice job finding the run lanes. Follows his blocks and stays patient behind the line of scrimmage. Not overly explosive and goes down too easily, struggling to create on his own. Too patient at times and looks indecisive - questionable feel and instincts between the tackles. Freelances a lot and needs to allow the designed play to develop. Relies too much on the big play and needs to learn to be content with positive gains.

Outside: Accelerates and gets to top speed quickly when he sees daylight. Has nimble feet to make defenders miss and shows an extra gear to run away from them as well. Very good at forcing defenders to take poor angles with his lateral quickness and natural burst. Fast through the hole and a home run threat. Looks most comfortable on the outside and in space.

Breaking tackles: An upright runner with a narrow frame -- won't break many tackles. Has improved body strength and stays coordinated through contact -- runs hard and fights for every yard. Lacks much strength to power through tackles and doesn't have the body type to withstand a heavy beating. Suspect ball security and tends to wear down over the course of a game.

Blocking: Wasn't asked to stay in the pocket much as a pass protector and needs extensive technique work in this area.

Receiving: Effective pass catcher with good ball skills and body control to make tough grabs. Had only 28 catches over his collegiate career and has limited experience in this area.

Intangibles: Has experience as a return man on kickoffs with 15 returns for 376 yards (25.1-yard average) and one touchdown in his career. Good production but suspect durability, playing most of the past season with a shoulder issue and will struggle with injuries. Started the 2011 season with five straight 100-yard games, but finished with just two in the final seven games. Lacks the size to be a bell-cow back. Still growing at the position and is not yet a finished product -- will he put in the necessary work to reach his potential?

-- Dane Brugler

The New York Times has Miller ranked as the third ranked Running back in the 2012 draft

3. Lamar Miller, running back, Miami (5-10, 212)

Lamar Miller is a potential Pro Bowl back. He’s at the sweet spot in terms of height, weight, speed and acceleration. He runs with patience and balance, and he protects the ball. He understands how to stay close to his blocks until an opening develops, and like Clinton Portis and Edgerrin James before him, he knows how to shorten his steps in traffic until he finds a cutback lane or alternate crease when the primary hole does not open.

He runs with good balance and power between the tackles. He can run through contact, and he has good enough footwork to prevent defenders from getting angles on him. He bends runs with good speed, and he has shown some skill to pick and slide toward creases or press a crease and cut back. He keeps his legs moving after contact, and his pad level is consistently low enough that he bounces off hits and maximizes his output on carries. He knows how to minimize his surface area in the hole and still get downhill fast.

Miller is fast, and his burst is Pro Bowl-caliber; when given a hole, he can accelerate past all three levels of a defense and turn a 10-yard gain into a 40-yard touchdown. There is little doubt that Miller has physical talent, but there are plays in which he seems to go out of bounds too willingly, even when time is not a factor.

Miller catches the ball as well as any back in this class. He snares passes, and he repeatedly demonstrated the ability to use his body control and concentration to help catch a ball. I saw him make an acrobatic catch that was over 25 yards from release point to reception, a play that many college wide receivers cannot make.

Miller’s effort as a blocker is not good enough. He will deliver a punch, and he has skill at getting the correct angle to make a block. But he does not sustain the contact and work hard enough to maintain that position. Miller diagnoses blocks effectively, but he has to do better with his cut blocking. He drops his head too early. As a run blocker, he seems more worried about getting hit from behind or hurt in the act of blocking than helping his teammates make plays.

I can see the Portis comparisons because Miller has game-breaking speed, explosive lateral agility and enough downhill power and balance to generate big plays in multiple ways. The difference is that Miller makes running the football look easier than Portis did in college, and I think it might be part of the perception that his effort isn’t always there when in fact, he’s just more graceful than people realize.

Purely on ability, he could start for an N.F.L. team today. The key will be how well he transitions from a college campus to professional life


.

Scouting report from Mocking The Drafts, KashMoney

Lamar Miller

5'11, 212 pounds | Running back | Miami Hurricanes

Acceleration/ burst: He is dangerous in the open field with his foot quickness, agility, vision, and top notch speed. He can accelerate to top speed in a blink of an eye. He had a lot of long scoring runs in between the guards. He can get to the outside with his speed and quickness and then bursts around the corner like the Falcon spaceship in the Star Wars movie trilogy, known as "warp speed".

Elusiveness: He has plenty of juke and wiggle he uses very well to elude defenders on inside and outside runs. He has quick feet and very good athleticism and uses it to change directions quickly to make tacklers miss.

Pass blocking/ catching: Miller gives good effort but needs to use better technique. He is an adequate pass blocker and has the playing strength to slow the pass rusher. He was not used much in the passing game, but when he got the opportunities he showed good hands to pluck the ball from the air and then secure the ball. I believe at the next level he could be just as good as the Texans Arian Foster catching out of the back field.

Power: Miller has good playing strength and a strong lower body to deliver a blow to tacklers. He gets his pad level low, but not consistently, to withstand the initial contact from the defender then drive or drag him for extra yardage. He is very effective running between the tackles.

Speed: He has tremendous speed and can reach his maximum in a hurry. He may be the fastest back in the 2012 NFL Draft class. When he keeps his feet under him and gets good balance he rarely gets caught from behind and can also out run an angle defender. You heard it here first, if Miller gets a good start out the blocks at the 2012 NFL Combine he will have the fastest 40 time and he will break last year's mark held by his ex-teammate DeMarcus Van Dyke.

Vision: He has very good vision and can feel the backside pursuit very well. He finds the hole quickly then burts thru fast. He is an outstanding cutback runner and follows his blockers well then cuts off of their hips to burst thru the hole quickly. His quickness and instincts helps him to make quick decisive cuts. He will remind some of former Hurricane great, Clinton Portis.

Final Word: Miller is leaving school as a redshirt sophomore and only has two years of strong play. The 2011 season was his first as the starting running back and he produced some big numbers. In three games against some high quality defenses he performed as a superstar amongst stars. He rushed for 184 yards against Ohio State, 166 yards against Virginia Tech, and 92 yards against Florida State. He has the playing strength, agility, vision, and competiveness to be a very good starting running back in the NFL. He is a big play waiting to happen every time he touches the ball because of his speed and superior burst. If he gets more opportunities in the passing game at the next level he would be dynamic with a team that uses a one back system. He also has kick return experience and is very dangerous in the open field. Miller should turn out to be a consistent starting NFL running back once he learns the speed of the game and uses better pass pro techniques.

From NFLMocks.com Jesse Bartolis

Lamar Miller is emerging as the second best running back prospect in the nation behind only Alabama’s Trent Richardson.

For all of our other scouting reports go to our scouting report page

Measurables

5’11 212 pounds.

Official Combine numbers:

4.40 forty yard dash, 33 inch vertical jump

Runs a very quick 40 yard dash

Miller is UM’s second-fastest player, running the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds

Pros

Fast….powerful…can break tackles (rarely goes down on first contact) …decisive…gets down hill in a hurry…can break the game wide open with his speed…has return ability…shifty… adequate ball carrier vision…sets up the draw well……a plus blocker willing blocker with the body to continue to improve in that area (technique could use a little refinement)…

Cons

Doesn’t set up blocks extremely well…not a special receiver out of the backfield for a player with his speed…haven’t seen him fumble much, but I can’t find the numbers to know for sure how often he fumbles, at the same time it doesn’t look like he covers up well enough in traffic will have to improve on that in the N.F.L…doesn’t have great hands…doesn’t run a lot of routes out of the backfield

Player Comparison

Cadillac Williams, RB, Tampa Bay Bucaneers (now with the Rams)

Sayre’s player comparison: Clinton Portis

Williams’ career has been derailed by injuries, but he and Miller are similar kind of talents coming out of college. I think Miller is a much better blocker than Williams wass, but the size/speed combination is similar (Miller is actually a little bigger and might run a little faster than Williams did at the combine). Williams was also considered a tough runner who could get downhill in a hurry. Williams had a very nice start to his career until the injuries started to mount. If Miller is put into a good situation and stays healthy he could be the running back the Buccaneers hoped Williams would be when he was drafted in 2005.

Projected round

First round pick.

Thoughts:

Miller isn’t the receiver that Trent Richardon is, but he’s not that far behind as a rusher. He has excellent game-breaking speed and gets north and south in a hurry. A lot of speed backs want to dance at the line of scrimmage to break the big plays, but Miller is the opposite of that and almost gets up the field too fast. But because of that he doesn’t have too many negative runs. He could use work in setting up his blockers on screen passes and he isn’t asked to run a lot of routes out of the backfield so that’s an area he might struggle with when he goes into the N.F.L. What you love about Miller though is his deceptive strength to break tackles and his blocking ability for a young running back which is really good. He also offers return ability. I like Miller and if he declares he’s a viable first round pick at running back for me.






My Take: My favorite running back in this class not named Trent Richardson. I love this kids potential. He doesn't have much milage on his legs(turns 21 April 25th) and has great speed. Reminds me alot of Clinton Portis. The broncos have been missing a homerun threat out of the backfield for years now. Personally i'm praying that we can take him in the second round, but if Lammey is right, and Broncos do end up taking Miller at 25, i will be doing back flips. A guy with the break away speed of Miller in the same backfield as Peyton Manning? Pretty scary.

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