2015 NFL Draft: Scouting Potential Buffalo Bills Target, Louisville OG John Miller

Heading into the 2015 NFL Draft the Buffalo Bills will be looking to acquire offensive line help. On the back of the news that Louisville left guard John Miller had a two-day official draft visit set up in Buffalo this week (per Josh Abner from CardinalAuthority.com), I thought I’d take a closer look at the man that wears the #70 jersey.

Miller was a 4-year starter at left guard for Louisville, starting in 47 games over his career. He also played at the East-West Shrine Game in January and earned rave reviews from all of the NFL Network analysts on the broadcast. At the recent NFL Combine, Miller measured in at 6’ 2” and 303 pounds. The rest of his Combine numbers were:

Arm Length: 33¼”

Hand Size: 10¼”

10 Yard Dash: 1.87

40 Yard Dash: 5.33

Bench Press: 29

Vertical Jump: 27″

Broad Jump: 104″

3 Cone Drill: 8.20

20 Yard Shuttle: 4.75

Run Blocking:

The most important attribute for Greg Roman’s offense is run blocking and this is probably Miller’s biggest strength. Miller is a technically-sound drive blocker that packs a real punch into contact. He doesn’t just rely on power to move his man from his spot though. He’s adept at positioning his body to seal rushing lanes and, while he’s not a great athlete, he’s a capable puller.

Against UCF (2013), Miller shows off his raw power. Gets under the pads of the defensive tackle and walks him 5-6 yards downfield. The leg drive through the contact is downright impressive.

Against Miami (2014), Miller executes a very simple pull and acts as a lead blocker. He positions himself well and seals the outside defender, the tight end seals the inside linebacker and Dominique Brown walks in for a touchdown.

Pass Blocking:

Miller’s skills in pass protection are adequate but that’s about it. He has pretty good length and blocks with a sturdy base but struggles with speed on his inside shoulder. He can be slow to get his hands up and gets knocked back into the lap of the QB a few times a game.

To his credit, his ability to reset his feet and anchor goes a long way to keeping the pocket clean and helps him avoid compounding mistakes into disasters. His calm demeanour keeps him under control and he trusts his natural ability to rectify bad situations.

Against Virginia, MLB Henry Coley comes on the blitz late in the cadence. Miller (working at RG now) takes a good shot from Coley, absorbs his momentum, resets his feet and uses his length to keep the LB from gaining any more purchase on him.

Mental Attributes:

Miller shows a good awareness of the dangers around him and he shows good identification skills when blocking at the second level but he must improve with his pre-snap recognition of pressure and diagnosing defensive line stunts on the fly.

Biggest example of this was against Kentucky. Pressure coming from the defensive right, ideally the O-line deals with pressure from the inside out. Miller chases the outside man as the LT does likewise leaving Bud Dupree with a free rush at the QB. It’s only the mobility of the quarterback that stops this play from being a disaster.

During 2014, Louisville had Miller play as a strongside guard so he played both LG and RG at times and, while he had a few lapses in technique switching positions, he handled the switch better than most could’ve expected. It’s a credit to his ability to take coaching on board and his work ethic.

Athletic Ability:

While he’s not a particularly gifted athlete for his size, he’s certainly adequate for what the Bills would ask of him. Shows good footwork and acceleration on pulling assignments and can get downfield in the screen game with some success.

Back to the Miami game, Miller (RG) pulls and lays a superb cut block on Denzel Perryman. He might not look the most graceful mover but he can be effective.

The Verdict:

All in all, John Miller was far more impressive when I watched him closely and my initial thoughts on him from watching him live did him a disservice. I think he’s well suited to what Greg Roman would want in an offensive lineman and has a skill set that could definitely see him starting in his rookie year, possibly even from Week 1.

I’ve graded him as a late 2nd-early 3rd rounder and it would make sense that the Bills would be interested in him if he’s still on the board at the 81st pick.