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Possible Patriots Draft Target, WR Braxton Miller

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
April 6, 2016 at 6:25 am ET

Possible Patriots Draft Target, WR Braxton Miller(PHOTO: USA Today - USA TODAY Sports)
Posted: Apr 06, 2016 06:25
🕑 Read Time: 4 minutes

Braxton Miller An Athletic QB Turned WR That Could Be Developed By NE

As the 2016 NFL Draft draws closer we’ll profile some of the players that may be on the Patriots radar that we feel would be a great fit.

The Patriots suffered a rash of injuries in 2015 and many were on the WR core. Brandon Gibson and Brian Tyms didn’t even make it out of training camp. Then Aaron Dobson went on IR, and Julian Edelman missed two months with a broken foot.  Danny Amendola trudged on like a good soldier, but the team was forced to rely on Keshawn Martin and rookie Chris Harper to provide too many snaps for the offense.

The team cut ties with both Tyms and Gibson this spring and then brought in WR Chris Hogan from the Buffalo Bills. With a healthy Edelman and Amendola and an additional year in the system for Martin and Harper, things are looking up. No one knows what to expect from Dobson at this point of his career. So the Patriots could still use another wide receiver to round out the depth in 2016.

Many of us who follow and write about the team would like to see them target a bigger wide receiver who can work outside the numbers and use his size to go into traffic and come down with contested passes. A bigger, faster wide receiver who can stretch the field both vertically and horizontally, which is more in line with the Patriots system.

Braxton Miller from Ohio State is an intriguing wide receiver that definitely fits the bill in terms of size and athleticism while he has a limited body of work as a receiver. Miller was the Buckeyes starting quarterback for a couple of years before suffering a serious injury that caused him to miss all of the 2014 season.

Making a full-time switch to wide receiver for Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes was considered a difficult task but Miller was impressive in limited opportunities in his final OSU season. Displaying a knack for getting open and making people miss in the open field, his athleticism served him well in 2015.

He notched 24 catches, 329 yards, three TD receiving; adding 40 carries, 234 yards, one touchdown rushing. The 6’1, 201-pound Miller had over 1000 yards rushing in 2012 and 2013.

It isn’t like the Patriots haven’t turned an athletic QB into a receiver before, doing the same thing with Julian Edelman when he was picked up from Kent State. Miller is just farther along in the process than Edelman was at this time and has better size and speed.

Sep 7, 2015; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Braxton Miller (1) runs for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Pros:

– Has the measurable at height, weight and speed (4.40 time in the 40)

– Very good hands

– Has the extra gear to challenge the field vertically

– Elusive in space, can make people miss and get all-important YAC

– Team leader on a very successful program

Cons

– Limited experience and production as a WR

– Needs to work on his route running, still a work in progress

– Runs upright and doesn’t sell his fakes, relies on athleticism

What his Role Will Be:
His role will be competing for one of the outside the numbers wide receiver spots on the team and being an immediate impact player.

Will his Role Change from Year 1-2?
Yes, with a year in the system he will be looked to, to be the primary “X”- receiver on the team.

How Many Downs Can He Play?
Three

What Current Player on the Roster Will He Replace?
His roster slot will be in direct competition with guys like Dobson, Martin and Washington.

What is his ST Value?
Good, could be used as a return man

Conclusion:
Miller is an intriguing player that could be developed by the Patriots into becoming one of their outside the numbers wide receivers in a role that Brandon LaFell had for the past two seasons.

Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels could definitely work him into the system and he would give them the size, speed and athleticism that they lack at the WR position. There is no doubt he brings those measurable to the position as well as leadership and the intangibles of having played for one of the top programs in the country.

Miller ran a 4.40 in the 40 as well as led all WRs in the all-important 3-Cone Drill with a superb time of 6.65. He also had the best times in the 20-yard Shuttle and the 60-yard Shuttle.

Belichick is very close to Urban Meyer and they’ve no doubt had talks on Miller’s potential. He’s shown the maturity and willingness to change his game from a QB to a WR and the Patriots, as we mentioned above have done the same with Edelman.

He will take some time to develop, especially with his intermediate routes but with already some depth on the roster, they can take some time to make him fully integrated into the Patriots system. He should immediately give them an option to stretch the field vertically and horizontally and his short passing game with his athleticism will make him hard to take down.

He projects in the Patriots system to be a Potential Starter. He should fit in very well into the NE offense. He’s slotted to go between Rounds 2-3 in the upcoming NFL Draft. If he’s around in that timeframe, the Patriots could definitely have some interest.

Miller’s highlight film can be found here, courtesy of Smash Videos:

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About Steve Balestrieri

A former US Army Special Forces NCO and Officer, Steve has been following the Patriots since their days at Fenway Park. Steve has worked in the film industry and wrote as an Military Editor at SpecialOperations.com, 1945.com as a reporter for the Millbury Daily Voice, Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, and the Grafton News. He's also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)


Posted Under: Patriots 2016 NFL Draft
Tags: 2016 NFL Combine 2016 NFL Draft 2016 Patriots Draft 2016 Patriots Mock Drafts 2016 Patriots Roster 53 Man Roster Projection Aaron Dobson Bill Belichick Braxton Miller Chris Hogan Danny Amendola Julian Edelman Nate Washington New England Patriots NFL Patriots Patriots wide receivers Rob Gronkowski Tom Brady

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