Can Andre Miller, one of a trio of undrafted free agent tight ends on the New York Giants’ 90-man roster, do enough this summer to at least earn a spot on the team’s practice squad?
Let’s discuss Miller as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the roster the Giants will bring to training camp.
By the numbers
Position: Tight end
Contract: Three-year, $2.56 million UDFA deal | 2022 cap hit: $705,000
Career to date
Miller was a wide receiver for the Maine Black Bears, catching 93 passes in 33 games over four seasons. As a senior, he caught 39 passes for 684 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 17.5 yards per catch.
Miller was a two-time all Colonial Athletic Association selection, making the first team in 2021.
The Giants signed him after the draft.
The Giants are asking Miller to transition from wide receiver to tight end. He is listed on the team’s website as 6-2, 220 pounds, but told Big Blue View early in OTAs that he was already closer to 230 at that time.
“I think I can keep putting weight on,” Miller told Big Blue View during rookie minicamp. “Keep eating the good meals they’ve got here. I think I’ll put some on eventually.”
Miller trains with Matt Mulligan, an NFL tight end from 2008-2016, who now runs Northern Maine Strength.
“Obviously he’s going to have to put some weight on,” Mulligan told Big Blue View.
Mulligan, who caught 18 passes in a career as a blocking tight that saw him play for seven teams over nine seasons, doesn’t think weight gain will be an issue for Miller.
“He’s 6-foot-4. He’s got plenty of room to grow. He’s got a good lower body, but he’s got a lot of room to grow in his upper body,” Mulligan said.
“He’s gonna work with me, so I can tell you that will definitely happen. Whatever the Giants want from him he’s gonna come work with me. We’ll get that done.
“I’m not gonna say we’ll put 15 pounds on him within that six weeks (between mandatory minicamp and training camp). I wouldn’t want to do that to him physically, but if he is going to be a project, which they’ve talked about, as far as that transitional period he’ll have plenty of time and believe me he’ll get that weight on no problem.”
By using terms like “project” and “transitional period,” Mulligan seems to be hinting that Miller is more likely to be a developmental player on the practice squad than an initial part of the Giants’ 53-man roster.
Mulligan said that isn’t necessarily the case.
“You’d be surprised. I never, ever say never with the National Football League. A lot of the tight ends that are making headway, they’re 245 pounds, 240,” Mulligan said.
“I actually think that if Andre plays the way that I know he can play, catches the ball and runs the routes, especially on the interior I think he has a great shot of making an active roster just from a perspective of he can really stretch those linebackers. He runs fast enough and he runs good enough routes to make it very difficult for them.”
Miller is one of three undrafted free agent tight ends — Jeremiah Hall and Austin Allen being the others — competing for spots with the Giants.
Miller said the transition is “going well” and that it requires “just learning new techniques.”
Mulligan knows it is more than that.
“Wide receiver to tight end is a massive jump, especially since he’s never put his hand in the dirt and all of those types of things,” Mulligan said. “If there’s a young man out there who can do it it’s Andre.”
Giants tight ends coach Andy Bischoff called Miller an “interesting” player.
“He’s a college receiver who’s making that transition to our room and he’s learning how to be a tight end every day. He won’t get it all in a week or a month or a season,” Bischoff said. “It’s my job, it’s our job to bring him along, to help him have success in the things he’s doing, to mitigate the landmines that could be out there and to help bring him along.
“Smart guy, had a lot of success in college, he’s learning the system. He’s an interesting guy to have in our room.”
Mulligan has already done what Miller is trying to do, build a long NFL career after playing at Maine and going undrafted.
“I know what it looks like when the cards are stacked against you, but I also know what it takes inside. What kind of gumption you need, what type of integrity you need, what type of never give up attitude,” Mulligan said. “I’ve watched him, I’ve trained other professional athletes … I know what I’m looking at.
“When I started working with this young man I realized that no matter what I said to him — I would try to make it a little hard just to see if he had a shut off valve, see if he had a quit button. He had none of it. He impressed me from Day 1.”
Mulligan also played for Bischoff, Giants head coach Brian Daboll, and assistant offensive line coach Tony Sparano Jr. during his career.
“I just know these gentlemen very well, and I just know their ability to coach, it’s the highest level,” Mulligan said. “If he could be anywhere with these men they’re going to get him right.”
Mulligan is, obviously, optimistic about Miller’s long-term chance with the Giants.
“He’s a big body. He makes good catches. He has the ability to be in and out, he can go outside and inside. They’re looking for that with tight ends now, they’re not just looking for them to run inside the hashes, inside the tackles, catching those balls,” Mulligan said.
“Split him out, he can run those comebacks, he can run a fade, he can do all that type of stuff, and run those square outs and things that they want tight ends to do now.
“Andre Miller is one of those guys that you ask him to do something he’s going to go above and beyond. With the love that he has for football it’s not going to surprise me if this guy ends up having a 10-year career.”