On December 30, Anthony Miller and the Memphis Tigers take on the Iowa State Cyclones in the Liberty Bowl. Miller’s season has helped his rise up wide receiver rankings for the 2018 NFL draft.
Miller is an older, formerly unheralded high school prospect, but does his college production justify his recent uptick in draft stock?
The Back Story
Miller was an unheralded high school prospect coming out of Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, Tennessee. In addition to playing football, Miller found success in track and field as a two-time regional champion in 110 meter hurdles events. He also set school records in the long jump, triple jump, 300m hurdles, and 110m hurdles.
Ranked as the 234th WR in the nation and 1746th overall prospect, the two-star recruit redshirted during his first two seasons as a walk-on member of the Tigers football team.
Miller was a late breakout who will score poorly on the Phenom Index, but once he broke out Miller produced at high level. He ranked No. 5 in Ryan Bobbitt’s Returning Dominator Series and backed up those numbers with an elite 2017.
Miller’s 35 percent of team receiving yards is already among the best in the nation, but his 17 touchdowns ranks second and accounts for 46 percent of his team’s total. With one cancelled game on their schedule against an overmatched Georgia State, it’s conceivable that Miller could have led the NCAA in yards and TDs had his team played their full schedule.
With over 1,400 receiving yards, it’s to be expected that Miller had several big games in the 2017 season. He has five games with over 150 receiving yards, five games with multiple TDs, and four games with 10 or more receptions. It’s safe to say that Miller one was on the most utilized WRs in the country.
Miller saw his highest public exposure during the Conference Championship game against Central Florida. In that game, Miller accumulated 195 receiving yards and three TDs on 14 receptions. While Miller has been on the radar of NFL draft scouts, this game largely propelled him up public rankings.
Miller finished with a career market share of 29.2 percent, which puts him over the key 29 percent threshold on Kevin Cole’s regression tree for WR prospects.
Miller falls into a less than desirable final node due to his yards per reception and final season market share, but his numbers in these areas are not big red flags. His draft stock will likely give him an early opportunity to succeed.
CBS Sports has Miller as the third-rated WR in the 2018 class and the 25th overall prospect which would indicate a projected late-first round grade. Strong showings at the combine and Senior Bowl could go a long way to cementing his draft stock. Miller will be 23 on the day of the draft, and his advanced age may bring along some concern with comparisons to recent busts selected in a similar range, but few WRs match his multiple years of success.
If he does get selected in the first round of the NFL draft, he’s likely to end up in the mid-to-late first round of rookie drafts, as well. If he lands in one of the more desirable locations, he could be a strong add for those who miss out on one of the big three picks.