THE 2018 NFL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
From the moment I saw Anthony Miller play, I knew he’d make it in the league. At 5’11”, 200 pounds, he’s always been overlooked. And same as always, his doubters are wrong. Antonio Brown is my best active NFL comparison to Anthony Miller, while I also see parallels between Miller and Steve Smith. Put it this way, Mitchell Trubisky is going to love him.
Miller was born and raised in Memphis Tennessee, and was the all-time leading receiver at Christian Brothers High School. Still, he didn’t receive a single scholarship offer to play at the next level. “Too small, and too slow”. I put quotations around the words because as far as I’m concerned, those charges were dropped. He stayed home and attended Memphis University, where he walked on and eventually earned a scholarship.
The story on Miller, echoed by teammates, coaches, and anyone who has ever come across him, is work ethic. Something is different about the way he approaches the game, like an artist who obsesses on every tiny detail, knowing they will be what makes the difference in the end.
Miller’s medium is the game of football, his passion and true love. It shows in his play, in his refined skill set and tenacious blocking mentality. He knows that every play is a chance to shine, whether it’s taking a slant 80 yards to the house, or making the block that springs his running back for a first down. It’s all the same to him, it’s all football. Anthony Miller possesses all of the intangibles.
Being overlooked for reasons of size and athleticism is something of a mystery to me. Sure, I didn’t see him play until he was already doing work at the college level, but some things can’t be taught. Wanna talk speed and explosiveness? Miller was a high school 110 meter hurdle champion and runner up in the long jump. Size? He isn’t tall, but he’s strong as an ox , 200+ pounds, and has excellent balance.
Things like heart, determination, work ethic, tenacity, willingness to hit, and love of the game are hard to measure with numbers. Stats don’t lie. 95 receptions, 1,434 yards, and 14 TDs as a junior, all school records. 96 catches, 1,462 yards, and 18 TDs was his senior stat line, breaking all three of the records he set the year before.
The following are some of the Memphis Tigers receiving records owned by Anthony Miller; Receptions (Career, Single game, Single Season), Receiving yards (Career, Single game, Single Season), and Receiving touchdowns (Career, Single game, Single Season). Miller brought up his stats in a letter he sent out to all of the NFL GMs before the draft, “I mention that off the top because it showcases what I’ve always done on the football field: Produce.”
That letter speaks to Miller’s confidence, and can be read in it’s entirety here:
Miller was taken by the Chicago Bears as the 51st overall selection of the 2018 NFL draft. There were five wide receivers taken before him; D.J. Moore, Calvin Ridley, Courtland Sutton, Dante Pettis, and Christian Kirk. Rest assured Miller knows this, and views the first fifty picks of the draft as mistakes. The guy is all about outdoing himself, and he will do it as a rookie by outdoing the rest of the class and winning the 2018 Rookie of the Year award. The Bears upgraded their O-line and will have a solid young quarterback throwing the ball.
If you know me, you know my number one value marker in football is consistency. Me stammering on about a rookie of all things is a rare occurrence, and may never happen again. Take this seriously! You heard it here first, Anthony Miller will win the 2018 NFL rookie of the year award.
Follow Anthony Miller on Instagram @a.mill3
Or on Twitter @anthonymiller_3