With the wide receiver position looking thin with uncertainty, bringing in competition might be the way to go for the New Orleans Saints in the 2016 NFL Draft. The converted receiver Braxton Miller could help bring that dynamic asset the team has arguably been missing since Darren Sproles’ departure.
We continue our New Orleans Saints draft profile series with the athletic receiver Braxton Miller, who is one of the most intriguing prospects at the receiver position in this year’s draft class.
- Height: 6-foot-1
- Weight: 201 pounds
- Arm Length: 31 3/4″
- Hands: 9 1/8″
- 40-yard dash (Pro Day): 4.46 seconds
- Bench press (225): 17 reps
- Vertical: 35 inches
- Broad jump: 123 inches
- 3-cone drill: 6.65 seconds
- 20-yard shuttle: 2.66 seconds
After playing quarterback for the Buckeyes for two years, Braxton Miller spend the 2014 season on the bench, nursing a shoulder injury. After Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett emerged as the new go-to-guys, Miller had to make a decision of whether to transfer to start at quarterback or switch positions. Miller took the hard choice and spent the entire 2015 offseason transitioning his skill set to complement the receiver position. It worked, as he turned out to be a dynamic player for Ohio State both rushing and receiving the ball.
He has excellent ball skills, and showed the ability to focus and track down the ball making the difficult and demanding catches. His athleticism allows him to cut and twist to shake his man and get open. Because of his combination of size and speed, Miller is a mismatch on most defenders, as he often ran simple routes downfield and still beat his man on sheer speed alone. When he gets the ball in his hands, he is elusive. He repeatedly jukes defenders, and was a threat to take it all the way to the end zone every time he had the ball in his hands.
After transitioning into his new role, he worked hard to adjust. That also meant blocking, which he didn’t shy away from. However, his technique is still a work in progress. He will have to work hard on perfecting his route running and footwork, as he often fails to get separation from the defender on intermediate routes.
In the NFL, finding a balance between going for the athletic demanding catch instead of the simple secure one will be key for him, as he tried to do more than he should on many occasions, resulting in less yards and drops.
Watch how dynamic Miller can be when he is on his game:
How he fits with the Saints:
The Saints only have Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead as proven NFL starters, so drafting a guy to go in and compete on day one seems like a good choice. Miller could help in the receiving category, but he also has the ability to be used on running plays and even trick plays like the wildcat because of his experience at quarterback.
Miller’s a hard worker, and would have to continue with that ethic on the next level. With the right coaching and a guy like Drew Brees throwing him the ball, he could quickly develop into a dynamic weapon in Sean Payton’s offense, maybe even in a Darren Sproles-type role. That’s something the Saints have missed ever since Sproles got traded back in 2014.
Even though Miller is a raw and unproven prospect, he could already be gone in the third round. Taking him would be considered a gamble, but as we have seen in the future, Sean Payton loves new toys in his offensive game plan. Miller might just be the most fitting player in the entire 2016 NFL draft for the Saints.