Von Miller is considered to be the top linebacker prospect in the 2011 NFL Draft next month. It's believed that the 21-year old Texas A&M graduate could be a top 5 pick and could even be selected as high as the #2 position currently held by the Denver Broncos. However Miller, who worked out for the Broncos on Friday, is also a plaintiff in the class-action lawsuit filed by some of the higher profile players against the NFL. The 4.49, 40-yard time he ran at the Aggies' Pro Day workout certainly impressed the teams watching, but could his participation in the proceedings end up dropping his draft stock and costing him in the salary department? Let's have a look.
In his career at A&M, Von has been listed at both linebacker and defensive end, but the hybrid position he played known as the "Joker", is basically a pass rushing linebacker. He led the nation in 2009 with 17 quarterback sacks and earned the Butkus Award as the best linebacker in 2010. The 6' 3", 246-pounder has been compared by some scouts as another Vernon Gholston and others as the next Derrick Thomas. In typical CYA fashion, they are saying he will either be very good or very bad. The Panthers, Broncos, Bills, Bengals, Cardinals, Browns, 49ers, Titans and Cowboys hold the first 9 selections in the Draft, and each team could use pass rushing help.
The thing is, Miller could be construed as a trouble maker. Suing your future employer or their Conglomerate isn't wise. One shouldn't bite the hand that feeds him. Kevin Mawae's career was suppressed when he became the NFLPA's president. Sure he didn't have too many years left in the tank, but he couldn't buy an audition with any team in the League after that. That tells me there might be repercussions to this act.
Miller's part in the litigation challenges that the:
"CBA makes no provision for the use of the entering player pool in 2011, and the lawsuit contends that any restriction on the pay received by incoming rookies constitutes an antitrust violation."
So what does that tell us about Von Miller. Is he a fool who will drop from the top tier down to the bottom of the first round? Is he a trouble maker who will disrupt the Locker room? It is possible that he is showing prospective teams his leadership qualities by this daring maneuver. Either way, I think the Broncos will pass on him at #2. He projects as a 3-4 Outside Linebacker anyway and the Bills, Cardinals, Browns, 49ers and Cowboys all fit that scheme, the Broncos don't. As a Dallas native, Miller grew up being a fan of the Cowboys and would love to play in Dallas. He even lobbied for the team to interview him last week. However, I don't think he will make it to the 9th pick. Buffalo might take a chance at #3 though.
Bills head coach Chan Gailey said:
"Von Miller would fit in any defense really well. He looks like he's a very explosive player. He's one of the few guys I happened to see a little bit during the course of the season, and he's an explosive football player. I think he's going to be a good get for whoever gets him. He'd help us, just like he'd help a lot of teams."
If not the Bills, the Cardinals will make him Joey Porter's heir apparent.
Delving into this further, I found that Von Miller isn't the trouble-making type. He is a leader though.
From SB Nation site I am the 12th Man:
True freshman joker Damontre Moore talked earlier this season about how Miller was teaching him the finer points of the game, but more important than that, Miller was teaching him about being a man, and what it meant to be a true student-athlete.
This doesn't sound like the selfish acts of a greedy young man. Miller is leaving a legacy behind him at "Linebacker U." by training and mentoring his replacement. That sounds like a mature person trying to be a leader and a teammate, something any NFL General Manager would love in a player.
He was quoted by ESPN, saying:
"First and foremost, I’m going to be a great teammate. I’m a team guy. That’s how I play football. That’s how we were able to win the games that we won at Texas A&M. We didn’t have all the talent in the world, but we had a great team. We had great chemistry in the locker room. I’ll be a rookie, whatever those guys want me to do, I’ll be happy to do it. Just find my way, find my role. Whatever it takes to get on the field, that’s what I’ll do."
Maybe daring to test the NFL through the judicial system is foolish and stupid or maybe it's the act of a leader, I think it's enough to make the Broncos pass on Von Miller with the #2 pick in next months Draft.