Braxton Miller had a decision to make this year as the season ended down in Florida with a loss in the Orange Bowl to Clemson and he made the right one. He decided to turn down the allure of the NFL to return to Columbus for his senior season. It was a tough decision with the prospect of a professional contract but he did the right thing in returning so as to become a better passer. As we all know Braxton Miller possess unique athleticism but too often he relies on this to get himself out of tricky situations instead of going through his progressions. Miller does use this unique athleticism to help late in games to break off big runs when the defence goes into prevent mode and this has helped become the nations leader in fourth quarter comebacks. Even if he does leave the pocket he needs to do a better job of keeping his head up and trying to pass as often undisciplined Cornerbacks will the QB and try and land a big hit on the QB rather than do their job and stick with the receiver. Miller needs to keep his head up and watch for the busted coverage when this happens and try and make the right play and hit his open receiver. Instead too often Miller puts too much faith in his athleticism and keeps the ball and ends up taking the big hit.
Miller uses his Athleticism to escape the rush against Clemson in the Orange bowl
If Miller had gone to the NFL he wouldn’t have been the first. The NFL has seen other QBs of a similar mould, namely Michael Vick and Robert Griffin III. Alas, history shows us that when you get to the NFL that athleticism won’t cover up flawed mechanics forever, just ask Tim Tebow. There is also the fact that Miller might be an elite college athlete but it is a hell of a big step up to the NFL and he won’t be playing against some true freshman Cornerback who doesn’t know exactly where he is supposed to be on a play, instead he will be playing against Safeties and Cornerbacks who read Quarterback’s eyes for a living and know exactly where to be to make the big play. Another issues would be the shots he’ll take, he showed even this year in the Orange Bowl that his struggled an injured shoulder in the Orange Bowl against Clemson looking battered towards the end. At the next level the hits would get bigger when you’re playing against people like JJ Watt and Von Miller on a regular basis. Robert Griffin III struggled last year this year after an electrifying rookie season due to a knee injury picked up during last year’s playoffs and the knee brace he had to wear of all this year. The contrast between the two seasons was startling and it showed that when you didn’t have to worry him breaking off 79yd TD runs he was a lot easier to defend against.
Robert Griffin III lacked the explosive athleticism of his rookie season while wearing the knee on his right knee last season
This would have been a problem that Miller would have faced at some point as he would have been bound to face at some point during his first year or two when he picked up a knock and had to stand in the pocket and pass with the threat of a long run or play action. With him being injured it makes the defence’s job a lot easier as without his running threat the end would be able to just rush him and not have to worry about containment. Now with an extra year in Columbus to develop his passing he should as a more complete passer better suited for the NFL.
Another problem he could face when he goes into the NFL draft is the fact that as an Urban Meyer product he could be view as simply as a system QB after fellow Meyer QBs Alex Smith and Tim Tebow failed to live up to expectations.
If he had left the Buckeyes it would be have been understandable as well as with how much he had at stake. Let say Miller tears his ACL in the first game of the season and loses all the athleticism he once had then he has probably lost millions of dollars in the blink of an eye. It is this scary scenario which has led many underclassmen who could do with another year of development to declare early for the NFL. It’s an understandable as a “Boobie Miles” moment could ended their lifelong dream in a matter of seconds.
Overall I feel Braxton Miller will be better served with the extra year in Columbus to become a more refined and complete passer.