EDGE James Houston IV was selected (sixth round), and CBs Al Young and CJ Holmes signed UDFA deals following the 2022 NFL Draft. This year, CBs Isaiah Bolden and De’Jahn Warren will likely receive at least camp invites. But Jackson State LB Aubrey Miller Jr. is the next product off the Deion Sanders conveyor belt that has caught the NFL’s eye.
With his scouting report, Miller should be one of several HBCU athletes to hear their names called during the 2023 NFL Draft.
Aubrey Miller Jr. NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Linebacker
- School: Jackson State
- Current Year: Senior
- Height/Weight: 5’11 1/2″, 229 pounds
- Length: 30 1/2″
- Hand Size: 9″
A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Miller was the grizzled leader for Whitehaven High School’s football team. After a 12-2 campaign in his junior season, Miller helped power his squad to a 15-0 finish and a Class 6A State Championship. He left nothing but rubble and debris en route to 147 total tackles, 21 tackles for loss, seven sacks, four interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), and five forced fumbles as a senior.
The number of accolades mirrored Miller’s brimming stat sheet: All-Region 6A, All-Tennessee Team, Autozone Liberty Bowl Defensive Player of the Year, and Tennessee Titan Mr. Football Class 6A.
When the ashes of his opponents settled on his high school career, Miller was a four-star recruit and 247Sports‘ No. 13 OLB in the nation. Despite several Power Five and Group of Five offers, Miller took his talents to Missouri.
Unfortunately, Miller never materialized with the Tigers. He “cracked a bone in his leg” early in his true freshman season, missing three games. He spent 2018 mostly as a reserve linebacker and special teamer. And in 2019, Miller suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first game of the year.
Suffice it to say, after a tumultuous three seasons in Mizzou, it was time for a change of scenery … but not a change of mascots. Joining Sanders with the Jackson State Tigers, Miller quickly cemented himself as the heart of the defense. And after 226 total tackles, 23.5 TFLs, 8.5 sacks, nine PBUs, six forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries in 26 games, it’s easy to see why.
Miller left JSU with two first-team all-conference nods and a 2022 SWAC Defensive Player of the Year Award under his belt. But what was on his horizon was arguably even more impressive.
The star LB received an invite to the Reese’s Senior Bowl and shined against the highest competition he’s faced in his entire career. Despite being snubbed from the Combine, there’s plenty for teams to love about Miller’s NFL Draft scouting report.
Aubrey Miller Jr. Scouting Report
Coach Prime received some backlash after telling players, “I’m bringing my luggage with me, and it’s Louis,” upon his arrival in Colorado. But even Mr. Vuitton would bow his head in Miller’s presence. Sanders had this to say about Miller prior to last season:
“Aubrey is one of the guys that we hang our hats on in the middle of the defense — making calls, getting to the ball, flying around, and really setting the tone and the tempo. Not just on game day, but in practice as well. He’s matured a lot. He’s grown a lot. … But the guy plays his heart out.”
You have to be doing something right to earn such praise from one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history. So what exactly is there to fawn over with Miller?
- A ball of organized chaos from the linebacker position — head-on-fire playstyle and reckless abandon for his body will endear him to coaches.
- GPS-equipped tornado when confident in his eyes and play recognition.
- Dense, rocked-up frame to deliver bone-rattling hits as a tackler.
- Amped-up motor that never cools — helps power instinctual nose for the football.
- Aggressive downhill thumper that tackles with a purpose (five forced fumbles last season).
- Effective blitzer — possesses the strength and speed to generate knockback power as well as hold firm at the point in run defense.
- Can take on blocks from bigger linemen with the hand placement and counters to shed.
- Stays square and can scrape laterally against the run.
- Patiently reads, diagnoses, and attacks downhill in the box.
- Sideline-to-sideline range to track down delayed runs from the opposite side and maintain discipline as a QB spy.
- Vast special-teams experience at both Jackson State and Missouri.
Areas for Improvement
- Will be a 24-year-old rookie.
- Hip flexibility for zone/man turns and change-of-direction ability will be exacerbated in the pros.
- Struggles to see movement against pulling linemen, allowing them to get into his chest and wash him out.
- Can lose gap integrity when freelancing in the box.
- Must improve overall awareness and keep his head on a swivel in coverage.
- Lack of length limits block-shedding ability and tackle radius.
- Too many missed tackles on film — open-field pursuit angles, lunging vs. breaking down and coming to balance, and aiming for big hits over form-finish attempts are to blame.
Jackson State LB Aubrey Miller Jr. Current Draft Projection
Miller was one of my favorite prospects to watch this cycle. He plays with a passion that erupts on the field. But Miller is more than his infectious ferocity — he has the athleticism and processing ability to play on Sundays.
Still, his lack of length (30 1/2″ arms) and hip fluidity limit his role in NFL defenses. He’s a ready-made 3-4 inside linebacker, built to thrive in the smash-mouth AFC North. Yet, he’s not a complete liability in coverage and could theoretically play all three LB spots in a 4-3 defense.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
It was important for Miller to show up to the Senior Bowl and — at the very least — not look out of place. Mission accomplished. In fact, he stood out amongst his peers on the field and received recognition from the coaches for his leadership and willingness to do whatever was asked and then some.
Miller should hear his name called in the 2023 NFL Draft, but when that will be is a different question entirely. Without Combine or pro day testing — he reportedly worked out in front of 27 teams at Jackson State, but no official numbers have been released — it’s difficult to project Miller’s draft stock completely.
Nevertheless, with the information we do have, as well as the tape, Miller should be a locked-in Day 3 prospect, presumably in the Round 5-6 range. His special-teams prowess will buoy his scouting report, and if you want the embodiment of a heat-seeking missile in the middle of your defense, Miller is your guy.
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