BRAXTON MILLER- 6’2, 215- SR.
Ohio State senior quarterback Braxton Miller is an intimidating dual threat who is widely considered to be both a National Championship and Heisman Trophy contender in 2014. How his college game will translate to the pros, however, is much less certain. Miller is just big enough that his size shouldn’t be a major argument against him being a viable NFL QB, but he has some consistency issues that he’ll need to work out if he is going to be a starter at football’s highest level.
Miller, who has started since his true freshman season, seems to be the best running quarterback in the nation heading into his senior year. He hasn’t been as effective as a passer, though, completing roughly 59 percent of his passes over his three-year career. His accuracy has improved as time has gone on, but he’s still far from a sure thing game-to-game (see his 6-for-15 effort against Michigan and 8-for-21 performance in the Big Ten Championship against Michigan State).
In addition, Miller needs to make sure he avoids injuries as a senior. A knee injury suffered early against San Diego State last year kept him out of the rest of that game, as well as matchups against California and Florida A&M. With an important season ahead of him which has a huge impact on both his legacy as a college player and his prospects as an NFL signal-caller, he can’t afford to miss more games.
While Miller’s name is lost in the shuffle right now because of guys like Marcus Mariota, Brett Hundley, and Bryce Petty, don’t discount him as a guy who could make himself an early-round option by next spring.
POSITIVES: Quick and deceptive runner…best accuracy seems to be on medium-length passes near the sidelines…pretty solid on short passes to the middle of the field…above average arm strength…despite his lack of height, has a pretty well-built body…by all accounts, seems to be a good teammate with qualities that would allow him to stick around long-term as a backup if necessary; Urban Meyer called him one of the most humble players he’s ever encountered…if quarterbacking for some reason does not work out for him, he’d probably be a solid running back in the NFL.
NEGATIVES: Accuracy is questionable on passes behind line of scrimmage…despite strong arm, long pass accuracy is not very good…not very good at dealing with and reacting to rushers in his face…lacking ball-handling skills as a runner…possible durability issues, missed three games in 2013 with a knee injury…running style is very aggressive and shoulder-first, which may leave him vulnerable to injuries…height is acceptable but less than ideal…on-field leadership is not obvious…is not married but has a young son; while Miller is said to be a “doting father”, this has been a point of contention in the past for quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Matt Leinart.
2014 Outlook: While Miller’s primary concern is probably staying healthy after being beat up in 2013, it’s equally important that he improve his consistency for a Buckeyes squad that could definitely contend for a National Championship in 2014. OSU has a rather easy non-conference schedule which includes Virginia Tech and Cincinnati teams that aren’t expected to be at their best this year, and the Buckeyes have a relatively easy conference slate as well. They won’t have to face either of the top teams from the West division, Nebraska and Wisconsin, and home games against Rutgers, Illinois, and Indiana shouldn’t be major challenges. Other than the always-intense matchup against Michigan, the Buckeyes’ biggest challenge likely comes with a rematch of the 2013 Big Ten Championship Game at Michigan State on November 8.
Talent Grade: Fourth Round
Rams Role: If the Rams decide to move on from veteran backup quarterback Shaun Hill after this year but don’t have absolute faith in one of their young guys, either Garrett Gilbert or Austin Davis, to fill the role, Miller might be a good guy to go after. Even though he’s not quite consistent enough to profile as a future starter at the moment, he definitely has the tools if he’s coached up. For the Rams, or any other team who selects him, he has the added benefit of being a guy who could be part of special packages as a runner, similar to what Tyrod Taylor has done in Baltimore.
Film Watched: vs. Michigan State (2013), vs. Illinois (2013), vs. Penn State (2013), vs. Iowa (2013), vs. Northwestern (2013), vs. Wisconsin (2013)