As the Ravens prepare for what many expect to be an offensive-heavy draft, we take a look at a talented wide out that has flown under the radar thus far: Memphis wide receiver, Anthony Miller.
With most of the pre-draft chatter at wide receiver surrounding Calvin Ridley, it’s easy to forget that there is plenty of talent in this year’s wide receiver class. While Ridley will almost undoubtedly be the first receiver off the board, the crowd of receivers that are projected to make up the second and third-rounds are all overflowing with potential.
Highlighting that group is Anthony Miller. A graduated senior whose college career began as a walk-on at the University of Memphis. Most of the time, when players aren’t heavily recruited out of high school, it’s for good reason. Whether it be because of size, or actual playing ability, we don’t often see walk-on players contribute much on the field at the college level, much less the NFL. Well, try telling that to Miller.
All he did after walking on was earn a scholarship, and break every major receiving-record at Memphis. He Totaled 238 reception for 3,590 yards, and a ridiculous thirty-seven touchdowns in his career. What might be most impressive, is Miller’s consistency with quarterback Riley Ferguson. Here are his 2016 and 2017 stat-lines, side by side:
While those numbers are incredible, taking a look at the skill sets behind the production is when we find out what kind of player we’re really looking at. Standing at just 5-foot-11, 190-pounds, it’s easy to write Miller off as being undersized. Although it’s easy to understand why everyone wants an alien-like specimen like Julio Jones. However, receivers like Antonio Brown and Jarvis Landry have shown that they can be productive despite not standing at 6-foot-3.
Miller is a seasoned route-runner with very quick feet, oftentimes beating defenders early in his routes to spring him open. While having a knack for getting open is a very important trait, the ball isn’t always going to be perfectly placed. That brings us to what very well may be his best quality. Miller’s ability to adjust to the ball. During his senior season at Memphis, there were a number of occasions in which Riley Ferguson would just chuck ball deep. This gave his receiver a chance to make a play on 50/50 balls.
Miller rarely disappointed. He was good at coming back to the ball. He also was a guy who could go up and pluck it away from corners regularly, despite his perceived height disadvantage.
The Take Home Point
Overall, Anthony Miller is a guy that plays bigger than his size. He’s not afraid to go up and get it, or lower his shoulder and maximize yards after the catch. He’s had to work harder than everyone else to get where he wanted, and when he got his chance, he shined. The last time I checked, that’s exactly what Ravens football was all about. If the Ravens get the chance to draft him, don’t expect them to hesitate.