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Tag:Von Miller
Posted on: December 28, 2011 1:22 pm
 

Three of top five 2011 picks voted to Pro Bowl

If there was any questions about the talent and immediate impact ability of the 2011 draft class they may have been answered yesterday when it was announced that three rookies were voted Pro Bowl starters.

The rookies, who incidentally were selected with the second, fourth and fifth picks overall were Denver pass rusher Von Miller, Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green and Arizona cornerback/returner Patrick Peterson.

Miller, NFLDraftScout.com's highest rated senior prospect last year, currently has 64 tackles and 11.5 sacks for the Broncos. While Tim Tebow and the Broncos' dominant run game has garnered most of the hype this year, it has been Miller and the Denver defense that has been just as critical in turning the Broncos from one of the league's worst teams into the possible AFC West champions. Miller's success comes as no surprise as his speed off the edge, when coupled with that of Elvis Dumervil's, gave me reason to predict in August that the former Texas A&M Aggie would win this year's Defensive Rookie of the Year.

As impressive as Miller was making plays on the defensive side of the ball, it isn't difficult to understand why NFLDraftScout.com rated A.J. Green as the best offensive pro prospect in the draft. Green leads the Bengals with 63 catches, 1,031 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Though Calvin Johnson might beg to differ, statistically speaking Green has been the best big play wideout in the NFL this season, havihttp://rob-rang.blogs.cbssports
.com/mcc/blogs/edit-entry/13682485n
g caught 11 passes for 35  yards or more, thus far.

Peterson, who I ranked as the top overall prospect in the 2011 draft, proved to be every bit the playmaker on special teams that his fellow rookies were on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Peterson tied an NFL record with four punt returns for touchdowns this season. He's struggled at times in coverage for the Cardinals, but has gotten better as the season has gone on, recording 60 tackles, 13 passes defensed and two interceptions. Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic asked star wideout Larry Fitzgerald about Peterson and his selection to the Pro Bowl. Fitzgerald's response is sure to make Cardinals' fans excited about Peterson's future.

"I remember in the draft everybody was talking about Von Miller this, Von Miller that -- and he's a fantastic player, a Pro Bowler as well -- but what Patrick has done us for this year, I think, has been the best in the league of anybody, except for maybe Cam Newton."

Fitzgerald was asked if he thought Peterson would make the Pro Bowl as a cornerback one day:

"I think he's right there. He's tremendously talented. I don't he even knows how talented he is. Talking to (Bengals receiver) A.J. Green after the game a little bit, and he's telling me Patrick was by far the best cornerback he's gone against. I feel the same way. When I compete against him, there are not many guys around the league that I play on Sundays who can match up with his physical tools. And then you talk about his ball skills, the way he's able to go attack the football at its highest point, tackle. I mean, the only thing he needs is experience, and I think playing every single game this year gave him that. His confidence you see is just continuing to rise week in and week out."


It should be noted that as good as these three were, one could make the argument that several other top ten picks from the 2011 draft could have been honored with a trip to Hawaii. Quarterback Cam Newton, who of course was drafted No. 1 overall by Carolina, defensive lineman Marcell Dareus (Buffalo, No. 3 overall), wide receiver Julio Jones (Atlanta, No. 6 overall) and pass rusher Aldon Smith (San Francisco, No. 7 overall) each made huge impacts for their respective clubs as rookies.


Posted on: August 29, 2011 11:39 am
 

Von Miller -- 2011 Defensive Rookie of the Year

At less than 6-3 (6025) and 246 pounds, Von Miller looks too small to remain at defensive end in the 4-3 defense John Fox is implementing in Denver.

Technically speaking, he is... and therefore plays strongside linebacker for the Broncos, but the No. 2 overall pick often drops his hand into the dirt to rush the quarterback from the traditional three-point stance and it is in this position in which Miller is his most dangerous.

Miller only registered one tackle in the Broncos' preseason opening game against Dallas. He was able to flush Cowboy quarterbacks out of the pocket, however, creating playmaking opportunities for his teammates. Two weeks ago, against Buffalo, Miller was better, registering two tackles, including a sack. Saturday, he registered two of Denver's five sacks, alternately confounding Seattle's first round pick James Carpenter with blinding speed around the edge and surprising strength for the bull rush. Miller essentially took over Seattle's first offensive series of the second half. On first down he sidestepped the blocker, showing good hands to shed and brought quick-footed running back Justin Forsett down for a two yard gain (play was wiped out due to a holding penalty on Seattle). The next play, Miller showed his ability to change directions and close quickly on the football, pursuing and tackling Forsett from behind for a gain of five. On the next snap, Miller jab-stepped outside to get Carpenter on his heels and then simply bull-rushed the 321 pound Carpenter before slipping off to sack Tarvaris Jackson for a three-yard sack.

Miller, despite being pulled in the third quarter, led the Broncos in solo tackles (4), total tackles (4) sacks (2), and quarterback pressures (4) in this game.

Some will take this game as one example of a defensive rookie being ahead of an offensive rookie. I see the physical traits, instincts and technique that is going to make Miller an absolute terror for the Broncos... and I mean, immediately.

The combination of Miller and the healthy return of 2009 NFL sack leader Elvis Dumervil will give the Broncos the elite pass rushing duo in all of the NFL this season. If that prediction isn't bold enough for you (considering that Denver finished dead last in the NFL with 32 sacks in 2010), how about this one.

Not only does Miller appear poised to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award, I think he may be capable of doing so as emphatically as Ndamukong Suh did it for the Detroit Lions last year, perhaps even challenging Jevon Kearse's rookie sack title (14.5 for Tennessee in 1999).

Posted on: July 30, 2011 1:01 pm
 

Von Miller limps off practice field in Denver

The Denver Broncos and their fans can take a deep sigh of relief that Von Miller, the team's first round pick and the second overall selection of the 2011 draft, was diagnosed with a bruise to his right quadriceps.

Miller, according to Lindsay H. Jones of The Denver Post, limped off the practice field yesterday. Miller signed his deal with the Broncos on Thursday.

"It will be day to day," Fox said when answering questions about Miller. "It's not a pull or anything like that, so we'll evaluate it."

Miller, 6-3 and 246 pounds, the reigning Butkus Award winner was a star defensive end for Texas A&M, racking up 68 tackles, including 17.5 behind the line of scrimmage and 10.5 sacks. He also forced three fumbles. Miller started slowly in 2010. As a junior Miller recorded 48 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss and led the nation with 17 sacks.

Most scouts felt that Miller would best fit in the NFL as a rush linebacker off the edge in the 3-4 scheme. Denver will operate in a 4-3 alignment under John Fox. In this defense, Miller is slated to play strongside linebacker, though he'll have plenty of opportunities to line up opposite former NFL sack king Elvis Dumervil, potentially giving the Broncos as lethal a 1-2 punch of pass-rushers as there is in the league.

Miller was NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated senior prospect.

In addition to Miller, the Broncos' 4th round pick, former Oklahoma safety Quinton Carter, was carted off the field with what Fox described as heat stress.

Fortunately, neither player is expected to be off the field for long.

Posted on: April 28, 2011 11:55 am
 

Plenty of surprises in my final mock

After talking to sources into the late night, I finally finished my two round mock draft and shipped it off to the editors at approximately midnight Pacific time.

For those who have been following my mocks for awhile, there are some surprises, beginning with the Denver Broncos using the No. 2 overall pick on Texas A&M pass rusher Von Miller.

I've long argued that Alabama DT Marcell Dareus should be the pick for the Broncos, despite the fact that I rate Miller as the better prospect . Dareus' bulk and strength make him an ideal fit for a defense that struggled against the run last year and have already released 2010 starters Justin Bannan and Jamal Williams. Considering that the Broncos could potentially quickly add to their win total if better able to compete against the Chiefs and Raiders' run-heavy offenses, the pick seemed a no-brainer.

Instead, the Broncos seem to be infatuated with Miller and will be taking the Butkus Award winner with the second pick.

The surprises continue from there with five quarterbacks making the first round, back to back Baylor Bears in the 20s and perhaps most surprisng, projecting THREE Alabama Crimson Tide players to be drafted before Mark Ingram, arguably the best player from Alabama in the draft.

The editors are working on updating my mock now. When it is all done, it will be available here:
(For those who want a sneak peek at the picks - but no explanations - you can check it out here . This is my final projection of the first round.
Posted on: April 26, 2011 10:28 pm
 

Arizona Cardinals Draft Preview

Arizona Cardinals 2010 record: 5-11, fourth place NFC West

2011 draft rundown - Eight total picks (round): 5 (1); 38 (2); 69 (3); 103 (4); 136 (5); 171 (6); 184 (7); 249 (7)

Top needs:   

Outside linebacker: Last year's starters, Clark Haggans and Joey Porter, will be 34 by the time the season is scheduled to start. Haggans could return, but Porter, whose salary is due to increase to $5.75 million probably is gone. Von Miller would be a nice replacement. With Daryl Washington and O'Brien Schofield, the Cardinals would have three young, promising linebackers. Brooks Reed from the University of Arizona would make sense in the second round. He's bigger and would be a good fit on the left side.

Quarterback: It's the top priority this offseason, but the Cardinals would prefer to address it through free agency or trade. Those options obviously aren't available to them, but they will be at some point, if the 2011 season is to be played. In John Skelton, the Cardinals already have a young quarterback. But there are some intriguing quarterbacks in this draft. Whisenhunt likes smart, tough gym-rat type of guys. Andy Dalton of Texas Christian falls into that category, as does Washington's Jake Locker. Both likely will be gone by the second round, however.

Inside linebacker: Gerald Hayes, the starter for the past five seasons, probably will be released at some point. The Cardinals don't have a big, inside linebacker on the roster, and could use a physical presence. Illinois' Martez Wilson would make sense in the second round. The starting two inside linebackers, Paris Lenon and Daryl Washington, weigh between 230 pounds and 240 pounds.

Guard: The starting guards, Alan Faneca and Deuce Lutui, are not under contract, and there are no young players behind them. Cannon is huge, 6-5, 358, and the Cardinals love to have large, road-grader type guys inside. Cannon has the size to play tackle, too, which is attractive.


First-round focus  5th overall -- The general consensus among league insiders is that the Cardinals would much rather land their next starting quarterback via free agency or trade, rather than invest in a rookie. Despite this notion, Arizona could have a hard time passing up Missouri's Blaine Gabbert -- rated by many as the top quarterback of this class -- if he were available to them at No. 5. With several attractive would-be free agents potentially available, the Cardinals could elect to look at other positions of need, however. Chief among them is pass rusher. The Cardinals feature two aging outside linebackers in Clark Haggans and Joey Porter and could be in prime position to nab the top pass rusher of the draft in Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller. The Cardinals kept close eye on the former Aggie throughout the week of practice at the Senior Bowl and could certainly use his speed off the edge. Arizona is so needy at the position that some theorize the club would "reach" for North Carolina's Robert Quinn should Miller already be gone. Perhaps a safer move would be to stick to the best player available strategy. LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson wouldn't fill as big of a need, but could present a big play threat opposite Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Similarly, if Georgia wideout A.J. Green were to still be available, he would provide the Cardinals with a vertical threat to help Larry Fitzgerald. With two receivers of that quality, veteran quarterbacks would likely be lining up at the door to play in Arizona, especially considering that the Cardinals play in the very winnable NFC West division.

Five names on Cardinals' board:   
OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M
QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
WR A.J. Green, Georgia
CB Patrick Peterson, LSU
OLB Robert Quinn, North Carolina
Posted on: April 26, 2011 9:14 pm
Edited on: April 26, 2011 9:19 pm
 

Buffalo Bills Draft Preview

Buffalo Bills 2010 record: 4-12, fourth place AFC East

2011 draft rundown - Nine total picks (round): 3 (1); 34 (2); 68 (3); 100 (4); 122 (4); 133 (5); 169 (6); 206 (7); 245 (7)

Top needs:   

Defensive line: The Bills' 2,714 rushing yards allowed was second most in team history and they allowed eight 200-yard rushing games. Aside from Pro Bowl nose tackle Kyle Williams, blue-chip talent required to stop the run and rush the passer is sorely lacking. Alabama's Marcell Dareus and Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers are in the discussion.

Quarterback: Ryan Fitzpatrick's career-high 23 touchdown passes provides a level of comfort. The question is whether Auburn's Cam Newton or Missouri's Blaine Gabbert are "franchise" talents too good to pass up with the No. 3 overall pick. Or is there a prospect to take in Round 2 (No. 34) and develop? Florida State's Christian Ponder is a candidate for that scenario.

Linebacker: The Bills are in need of run stoppers and pass rushers at this vital position. Even with free agent Shawne Merriman in the fold, there is a general lack of star power on both the outside and inside and Paul Posluszny could be declared a free agent. The team is paying dearly for drafting Aaron Maybin 11th overall in 2009; he has yet to record a sack.

Offensive tackle: The Bills like four of their five starters, but right tackle was a revolving door in 2010. Mansfield Wrotto, Cordaro Howard and Erik Pears are expected to compete for the starting right tackle job but the team will add to the mix.


First-round focus   3rd overall -- The direction the Buffalo Bills go with the No. 3 overall pick all depends on their true feelings for veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The journeyman enjoyed a career year in 2010, passing for 3,000 yards and a respectable 23 touchdowns (against 15 interceptions) despite starting only 13 games. Considering the significant struggles the team had on the defensive side of the ball (including allowing eight 200 yard rushers last year), it might seem obvious that the Bills would look to address their defense. However, GM Buddy Nix and head coach Chan Gailey eschewed their defensive needs last year to draft playmaker C.J. Spiller with the ninth overall pick and might be similarly tempted to draft a premier young signal-caller like Blaine Gabbert should he still be on the board. Having a year to learn the NFL ropes behind Fitzpatrick and IGabbert could prove an NFL star. The upside of the athletic Gabbert (or even more athletic Cam Newton, should he be available) would also be a wise move for a franchise looking to rebuild their fan base. If, on the other hand, the Bills like what they have in Fitzpatrick or decide to push off their concern for a young quarterback into the second or later rounds, there is plenty of defensive talent likely to be available at No. 3 that could fill areas of need. A stout run defender like Alabama's Marcell Dareus would seemingly be a perfect fit for the Bills and almost surely would be the pick if he were available. Experienced inside and out in Nick Saban's 3-4 defense while with the Crimson Tide, Dareus would make an immediate impact. So too would outside linebacker Von Miller, whose ability to rush the quarterback would help ease the suffering of the huge disappointment that has been former No. 11 overall pick Aaron Maybin. Cornerback is one of the team's relative strengths so LSU's Patrick Peterson would be a surprise, but the Bills have already shown their willingness think outside of the box with the selection of Spiller last year.

Five names on Bills' board:   
QB Cam Newton, Auburn
QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama
OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M
CB Patrick Peterson, LSU

Posted on: April 25, 2011 7:08 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2011 7:08 pm
 

Denver Broncos Draft Preview

Denver Broncos 2010 record: 4-12, fourth place AFC West

2011 draft rundown - Seven total picks (round): 2 (1); 36 (2); 46 (2); 67 (3); 186 (6); 189 (6); 247 (7)

Top needs:   

Defensive tackle: Denver tied a franchise-high by allowing 26 rushing touchdowns and the 2,473 yards allowed were second-most ever. The team will switch from a 3-4 back to a 4-3 front under new coach John Fox and after cutting two veterans (Jamal Williams, Justin Bannan) and likely losing two other players in free agency (Marcus Thomas, Ronald Fields), the cupboard is nearly bare. It would be something of an upset if either Alabama's Marcell Dareus or Auburn's Nick Fairley isn't Denver's first-round pick, when all is said and done.

Linebacker: The Broncos are in desperate need of someone to shore up middle linebacker. D.J. Williams has been mentioned as a possibility there but he simply hasn't demonstrated a knack for playing in the kind of traffic that position entails. Williams is best suited for weak-side linebacker. A player such as UCLA's Akeem Ayers, Washington's Mason Foster or Oklahoma's Jeremy Beal would make sense with one of the team's two second-rounders.

Safety: Brian Dawkins missed time last year with a pair of knee problems and is still as fierce and dedicated as ever. But he turns age 38, and free safety Renaldo Hill also is on the wrong side of 30. With little reliable developmental depth behind him, the team needs athletic defenders who can match up on a tight end and have the range to patrol the middle of the field. There has been a revolving door of veterans and fill-in types in Denver for several years without producing long-term, in-house options.

Tight end: Denver traded Tony Scheffler last summer and never found a replacement with sure hands that could stretch the middle of the field. The Broncos have since cut position reception leader Daniel Graham, a team captain, and the Broncos continue to wait for 2009 second-round pick Richard Quinn to emerge as a viable two-way threat. Either Notre Dame's Kyle Rudolph, Arkansas D.J. Williams and Wisconsin's Lance Kendricks could hear their name called by Denver at some point draft weekend.


First-round focus   2nd overall -- It is widely assumed that the Denver Broncos will select Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus with the No. 2 overall pick considering their gaping hole at defensive tackle, but with plenty of needs and no picks between No. 119 selections between their third and fourth picks, Denver will be listening to any and all offers to trade down. Dareus would fill a need. The powerful run-plugger has the size and strength to lock down a starting spot inside for a decade, but the team is also thought to have similar grades on LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller, North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn and Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley -- and could nab one of these players a few spots lower in the draft should they be find a willing suitor to trade. The Broncos have done their due diligence on the top quarterbacks of the 2011 class, but league insiders believe they are more satisfied with their current passers than some have suggested and are simply trying to drum up interest in trading down.

Five names on Broncos' board:   
DT Marcell Dareus, Alabama
CB Patrick Peterson, LSU
OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M
DE Robert Quinn, North Carolina
DT Nick Fairley, Auburn

Posted on: March 31, 2011 8:37 pm
 

Antitrust plaintiff Miller to attend draft

Outside linebacker Von Miller told ESPN he will attend the NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 22 days after he's scheduled to be in court as a plantiff in the antritrust lawsuit the NFL players have filed against the league.
  
The former Texas A&M star is one of 20 players that have been invited to the draft, according to the NFL Network.  
  
Other names reportedly on the invite list include defensive tackle Marcel Dareus, wide receiver Julio Jones and running back Mark Ingram from Alabama, Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert and teammate defensive end Aldon Smith, Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers, Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn, Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green, Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara, USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith and Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt.
  
Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and Cal defensive end Cameron Jordan have also been invited, according to ProFootballTalk.com.
  
All are among NFLDraftScout.com's top 20 overall rated prospects.
  
Jones told Sirius NFL Radio that he will attend the draft, while Clayborn announced on his Twitter page that he'll be there and Smith told the NFL Network at his pro day that he'll be at Radio City Music Hall. Washington quarterback Jake Locker said at his pro day that he received an invitation, but will watch the event at home with his family.
  
"I appreciate the invite, but for me, I want to be with the people that have been with me my whole life and helped me get to this point, and I want to share that experience for them," Locker told NFL Network. "Not all of them would be able to come to New York with me."
  
The NFL Players Trade Association said it will have an event over draft weekend, but that it won't interfere with the draft itself, after weeks of rumors that prospects were being asked not to attend.

--Derek Harper, NFLDraftScout.com Executive Editor
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com