ARLINGTON TX - JANUARY 07: Jordan Jefferson #9 of the Louisiana State University Tigers throws under pressure from Von Miller #40 of the Texas A&M Aggies during the AT&T Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium on January 7 2011 in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
One guy that has been getting a fair amount during the 2011 Senior Bowl practices has been Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller. I've noticed some discussion in the comments about Miller with some folks extremely excited about him and others not quite so thrilled at the prospect of drafting Miller. The senior has accumulated 28 sacks over the last two seasons combined. He had 17 two seasons ago and 11 this past season after being held sack-less through the first four games of the season.
Prior to the Senior Bowl he was getting some love but wasn't projected as high as the 49ers were picking. However, his stock has received quite a boost this week and it capped off with Adam Schefter tweeting that he would be a top five pick in April's NFL Draft. Suddenly many mock drafts are slotting him no lower than Arizona, which means the chances have decreased considerably that the 49ers would have a shot at him with the number seven pick. That's not to say he's the right guy for them, but I know some folks all sorts of hot and bothered by Miller.
Thus far he appears to be making strong headway through practices with a lot of folks down there tweeting that he's been one of the most impressive players on the field, if not the most impressive overall. He came in at 6'2⅝ and 237 lbs, which might be a bit undersized for a 3-4 outside linebacker. Supposedly he plans on adding another 5-10 pounds between now and the combine, so we'll have to wait and see what he looks like then and how his speed is affected.
In reading through reports from Scouts Inc, Draft Countdown and Draft Insider, one drawback seems to be his coverage skills. He is apparently built to be a speed rusher and is getting a lot of comparisons to Clay Mathews and Brian Cushing. Miller has apparently looked best as a 4-3 OLB, but could potentially work in the 3-4. Todd McShay had the following to say:
It's very clear Miller has the athleticism, speed and raw, natural football instincts to not only become adequate in coverage, but to make it a strength of his game, which already includes man-to-man coverage ability.
He's looking like a perfect fit for a strongside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme, but from talking to teams here that run a 3-4, don't count him out just yet as an outside linebacker in that alignment.
DraftInsider (linked above) was actually quite negative on Miller's three days of practice thus far as they felt he was easily controlled in blocks and showed average pass rush skills at best. I'm not going to drop them from my viewing this week, but given how much love Miller has gotten almost everywhere else, it has me wondering how valuable their reports are at this point.
That brings up an issue I'd like to get some feedback on. Everybody has certain sites and people they trust more than others on the Internet. I'm posting a few sites that I've found have solid information laid out in an easy to follow manner (for the most part). However, I certainly don't claim these sites are gospel. For a guy like Von Miller, I'd like to hear what some of our bigger college football fans have to say about him. Honestly, I trust many of you more than I do some of these supposed experts in part because of your track record of success in discussing some of these players.