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2019 NFL Draft prospect profile: Christian Miller, EDGE, Alabama

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How could a productive Alabama EDGE possibly be a sleeper?

SEC Championship - Alabama v Georgia Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

If the New York Giants want to upgrade their defense, and they do, they will need to upgrade their pass rush. A big part of that will be improving their secondary so they can employ more man coverage concepts to slow down quick passes and give their pass rushers more time to work. However, they also need more pass rushers to send after quarterbacks as well.

This happens to be an incredibly deep draft class for pass rushers, both inside rushers and EDGE defenders. That bodes well for a team drafting just outside of the top five, that they might be able to land a player who could be the top player at the position in most other years. However, if the Giants opt to draft a quarterback at sixth overall, they will need to wait until the second, or worse, fourth, round to find a player.

That means finding players who have potential and upside, but are flying under the radar.

Amazingly, one of those players is Christian Miller of Alabama. How could it be that an EDGE with the potential to be an impact player at the next level could go to Alabama, and still be an under-the-radar player?

Measurables

Pros

  • Prototypical frame for an EDGE.
  • Able to play from a two and three-point stance.
  • Appears to have ridiculously long arms.
  • Already has polished hand usage.
  • Shows solid athleticism.
  • Able to drop into coverage.
  • Disciplined run defender.

Cons

  • Only one year of production.
  • Shows a false-step when rushing from a two-point stance.
  • Undersized to play defensive end.
  • Played on a stacked defensive front.
  • Has an injury history.

Prospect Video

What They’re Saying

Still playing only about half of Alabama’s defensive snaps (I’m guessing based on tape), Miller was excellent in 2018, showing off a diverse pass rush plan, terrific hand usage and the physicality needed to help offset his lack of elite athleticism. Miller may not be the most high ceiling edge defender in the class, but he looks like a solid rotational player in the NFL who can play in a variety of fronts and stances while providing some versatility in coverage or as a rusher.

- Jon Ledyard (The Draft Network scouting report)

Does He Fit The Giants?

Miller should fit the Giants and fill a definite need in their front seven.

He has all the traits that would suggest a future playmaker at EDGE. His size, athleticism, versatility, and length are everything NFL scouts look for in pass rushers. He shows a solid burst off the edge to win with speed as well as the ability to win through technique with long arms and polished hand usage. And as an added plus, he is disciplined in the run game and has the ability to use his leverage to stand up bigger blockers.

However, his pass rush is compromised by a curious false step when rushing from a two-point stance. All too often, his trail foot takes a bucket-step before he gets into his rush. It gives savvy offensive linemen a clue as to his rush and delays his first step off the snap. There is also the question as to why he wasn’t able to get more than spot or mop-up duty on Alabama’s defense before his senior season. Granted, he (like Quinnen Williams) had to contend with a depth chart loaded with future NFL players, but it is a question the NFL will want answered. Likewise, his medical history will need reviewing after a torn biceps ended his junior season and a hamstring injury suffered in this year’s college football play-offs.

Depending on how those questions are answered, Miller could be an under-the-radar surprise in a draft class stacked with EDGE rushers.