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Chicago’s Anthony Miller stands out from the other receivers in the NFL Draft

He’s not the biggest WR in the draft, but Miller’s magic with the ball in his hands, says retired NFL defensive end Stephen White.

NCAA Football: American Athletic Conference Championship-Memphis at Central Florida Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears picked Anthony Miller in the second round. The following is Stephen White’s breakdown.

If I’m being completely honest with you, this year’s crop of receivers are a little ... underwhelming, so far. Calvin Ridley, Courtland Sutton, and James Washington all had really attractive qualities in their own rights, but nobody really jumped off the screen at me and looked like they had that it factor.

Until now.

Anthony Miller was lightning in a bottle in the four games of his that I watched. This kid made me jump out of my seat a few times with some spectacular catches he made.

And he hauled in all kinds of impressive catches in those games.

From short routes to intermediate routes ...

... to Mossing fools deep down the field.

Thirty one catches in four games is pretty damn good in its own right, but the quality of some of those catches, especially what he did after the ball was in his hands, were just ridiculous.

Oh, and seven of those catches went for touchdowns.

Not only did Miller have speed to burn, but he was also pretty physical in the passing game, too. His ability to fight off the line of scrimmage and make contested catches isn’t something I see every day from college wide receivers.

It was also fun to watch Miller finish off his catches looking for contact. Every time he had the ball in his hands he fought for every single yard he could get out of that reception.

Miller’s ability to run with the ball in his hands means he won’t always have to catch go routes to make big plays. I covet receiver who can turn a lot into a little because statistically deeper routes are lower percentage throws. With Miller all you have to do is get the ball in his hands one way or the other and then sit back and watch the magic happen.

He isn’t the biggest guy at 5’11 and 190 pounds, but Miller was also surprisingly adept at hauling in back shoulder fades which, combined with his ability to win at the line on quick inside routes, makes him a legit red zone threat, too.

What I’m saying is trying to single him up near the goal line probably won’t work out too well for you, bruh.

After all of that praise, of course there are some things I don’t like about Miller’s tape.

For instance, his blocking left a lot to be desired.

One thing that irritated the shit out of me was the fact Miller was constantly trying to look back and see where the ball carrier was instead of just focusing on making a good block.

There was also this one play when he got jacked up, rag-dolled, and viciously shoved back into the runner, and damn was that ugly.

But Miller wasn’t all bad as a blocker, and a time or two he actually did a really nice job giving his guy the business.

And just keeping it a buck, Miller is a guy who brings so much to the passing game I’m not all that concerned over his shortcomings as a blocker.

Yes, he will have to work on it, but in the NFL receivers get paid to make catches. People got excited about Laquon Treadwell’s blocking a few years back, myself included, but he hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in the NFL, has he?

Personally, I would rather have a receiver who makes big time catches and blocks his ass off. If I have to choose between the two give me the guy who shows up on the stat sheet every week like Miller does rather than the extra offensive lineman.

Yeah, I said it.

Did I mention Miller had nine catches of 20 yards or more and several others that were just under that threshold, too?

Yeah, I can work with that.

Now Miller did have three drops in those four games.

Miller also fumbled once running with the ball after a catch and another time he and his quarterback appeared to fumble the exchange on a speed sweep, so ball security is a legitimate concern.

However, after seeing some of the catches this kid made it’s just about impossible for me to say he has “bad hands.”

Did he have a couple of lapses in concentration? Absolutely. And he certainly needs to work on that.

But those were definitely the exceptions and not the rule in the four games that I watched.

Unfortunately, Miller was recovering from a foot injury so he couldn’t do any of the on-field stuff at the NFL Combine, but he had a really good pro day in Memphis, recording a 4.48 in the 40 and a 39-inch vertical which reflected the kind of athlete I saw on tape.

In Miller, I see a guy who can line up all over the place, run any kind of route you need him to, a guy who can take the top off the defense, a guy who can make tough catches, and a guy who is going to maximize his production with his effort when the ball is in his hands.

Of all the receivers I’ve broken down this draft season, he is the one dude who seems to have that “it” factor.

I know that Miller didn’t play in a Power 5 conference, and maybe his name isn’t as well known as some of the other guys at the position in this draft, but of the four receivers I have now done breakdowns on, he is the one who I see as having the most potential to ball out in the NFL. For me he is a first-round talent, but I don’t really care where he ends up getting drafted. At the end of the day, no matter where he is chosen, Anthony Miller is going to be a problem for defenses once he gets to the league.

Since I don’t have access to all-22 for college football games, I use the next best thing for my draft profiles and go to Draft Breakdown where they post the TV copy of a bunch of top prospects’ games already cut up and ready to go. Unfortunately they only had three games for Anthony Miller so I had to use Google to find one more. For the purposes of this breakdown, I watched Miller play against UCLA, UCF, UConn, and Iowa State. Those represented the second, fourth, fifth, and 13th games on Memphis’ schedule last season, respectively.