Braxton Miller Made the Right Decision Coming Back for 2014 Season
As bad as he looked throwing the ball in the Big Ten Championship Game and the Orange Bowl, there was no way he’d pass up his shot to win a Heisman and/or a national championship to be a fifth- or sixth-round pick, right?
Luckily, Miller resisted the NFL’s temptation and decided to come back for his final season in Columbus. While it’s hard to blame anybody for taking advantage of the opportunity to actually get paid for all the hard work they put into being the best football players they can be, some guys really need that extra season to further develop their skills at the college level before they’re ready to face the best of the best.
Miller certainly falls into that category.
As I noted in one of my articles last week, Miller has improved on almost all of his passing statistics each season at Ohio State. Anybody who watches the Buckeyes regularly can see vast improvement in his accuracy, footwork, and ability to read defenses since arriving in Columbus in 2011.
That said, nobody can objectively evaluate Miller as a passer and think he’s anywhere close to being ready to play quarterback in the NFL. Despite his improvement, he still misses wide open receivers far too often, especially on shorter to intermediate routes, and also tries to fit balls into double and triple coverage too often to have any kind of success in the pros right now.
Ten years ago, Miller playing quarterback at the next level would not have even been an option. But as the NFL has evolved over the past few years and offensive coordinators have begun to figure out how to effectively use mobile quarterbacks and build offenses around their skill set, it has opened the door for players like Miller to have a shot to play quarterback professionally.
I mean, if Terrelle Pryor (of all people) can start for somebody in the NFL -- even if it's for the Oakland Raiders -- it has to give Miller optimism that some team will give him a shot. But when it comes down to it, you still need to have the leadership abilities that are required to be the face of an NFL franchise, and also have the arm strength, accuracy, and mechanics to make all of the necessary throws on a consistent basis.
A full offseason of workouts, training, and tutoring with Urban Meyer and Tom Herman will be helpful for Braxton’s development as a leader and as a passer. If he makes strides similar to each of the last two seasons, not only will it benefit his chances to have a lot of on-field success in his professional career , it will benefit his draft stock substantially as well, thus earning him a bigger contract.
With the departure of running back Carlos Hyde, I look for Meyer to feature Miller’s arm a lot early on next season. We already know he can run as good as any player in the country, but has a lot to prove as a passer in 2014 if he wants an NFL team to take a chance on him as their franchise quarterback come May 2015.