A breakout star of the 2022 campaign, can TCU RB Kendre Miller crack the early rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft with his scouting report? The true junior made a compelling case for early-round consideration in his first year as the starter. Now, it’s time to look at how he grades.
Kendre Miller NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Running Back
- School: TCU
- Current Year: Junior
- Height/Weight: 6’0″, 220 pounds
Miller had big shoes to fill at TCU in 2022. In 2021, he shared the backfield with five-star recruit Zach Evans, who put up 92 carries for 648 yards and five touchdowns in that shared role.
Miller was only a mere three-star recruit in comparison to Evans. But after a solid freshman season, he’d earned a piece of the pie in the Horned Frogs’ backfield and took advantage of it. Alongside Evans, Miller logged 83 carries for 623 yards and seven scores — achieving greater efficiency than his counterpart.
Miller’s footprint was large enough that Evans transferred to Ole Miss in 2022, leaving Miller as the top dog in TCU’s RB room. Miller never looked back, amassing 216 carries for 1,342 yards and 17 touchdowns, while helping his team reach the College Football Playoff.
Kendre Miller Scouting Report
After achieving this kind of production in just his third season, the 2023 NFL Draft will undoubtedly be on the radar for Miller. But is his profile translatable to the NFL game?
Miller doesn’t always get as much hype in the 2023 NFL Draft RB class, but his positives section will be longer than most. He’s a dense, well-leveraged back at 6’0″, 220 pounds. And within this frame, he brings high-end functional athleticism.
Miller is an explosive athlete with great foot speed, who accelerates upfield with ease and has urgency in his steps. He has the explosive gear to quickly exit the backfield and erode early tackling angles, and he can quickly throttle up and attack the outside, showing exceptional control. Additionally, Miller has the necessary long speed to maintain separation once he finds daylight, and he finishes big plays with that speed.
Even more impressive than Miller’s burst is his agility and twitch as a runner. The TCU RB is a high-energy runner both stylistically and athletically. He’s spry and explosive on the lateral plane, possessing snappy short-area athleticism and foot movement. Miller can quickly retract and extend his strides, as well as roll his hips through cuts and glide into open lanes.
Miller uses his short-area twitch to weave through narrow lanes while carrying his acceleration upfield. He’s also able to quickly stack cuts at diverging angles while sustaining acceleration. In a similar vein, Miller is able to test tight angles while exploding upfield and baiting defenders into premature pursuit paths.
The frame density of Miller helps him in contact situations, but he also has tremendous natural balance and a very strong center of gravity. The TCU RB easily recalibrates and resets his feet to stay up through contact, and his constant leg churn makes him very hard to stall 1-on-1. Miller can accelerate through arm tackles while scraping past and explodes through solo tackles while rolling through with his hips.
Physically, Miller is a very impressive back. But he complements his physical profile just as well with the intangible traits. The Horned Frogs star has the initial vision and processing to diagnose and hit holes with urgency. But beyond that, he has the full-field vision and processing speed to quickly recognize outlets outside when the middle is clogged.
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Miller is a smart, patient runner who can manipulate the defense’s field of vision and hide behind blocks to freeze defenders, opening outside lanes. To that end, he flashes elite creative instincts behind the line of scrimmage. He can tempo his feet and use brisk, explosive cuts to maintain and maximize space, as well as bounce runs outside quickly when the middle is too congested.
Spatial awareness is a particular strength of Miller’s, as the TCU RB frequently stays tight behind blocks and can peel through tight spaces to glean maximum yardage. In tight areas, he has incredible feel and pace, and consistently creates positive gains with his short-area athleticism and instincts.
Miller uses fast stutter steps to adjust his positioning, and he employs exceptional footwork in the backfield. He also keeps his composure when faced with early pressure, sensing defenders well and stacking cuts to sift through lanes.
Miller is an anticipatory, manipulative runner. He can even use shoulder fakes in space to bait defenders into overpursuing, then promptly capitalize. But Miller also brings good targeted physicality. He frequently and proactively uses stiff arms to scrape past defenders and keep himself clean, and he’s willing to lower his shoulder and finish forward on runs.
Moving elsewhere, Miller has shown himself as a receiver out of the backfield and guide in passes with his hands. The TCU RB has very good instincts and adjusts for off-target passes on short notice. He’s also able to quickly reset his feet for running after the catch, and his athleticism translates very well as a receiving threat.
Miller’s blocking ability will also ensure that he stays on the field on third downs in the NFL. He gives great effort as a blocker. Moving beyond that, he can square up surging linebackers and engage inside the torso with combative hands. He uses fast feet to correct his positioning heading into blocks, and overall, he’s well-leveraged, alert, and active.
Miller’s Areas for Improvement
Miller’s scouting report is extremely well-rounded, making him a very appealing 2023 NFL Draft prospect. There aren’t many — if any — glaring flaws to be concerned about, but rather non-elite traits to make note of.
At his size, Miller isn’t quite a bruiser. He won’t consistently truck through tackle attempts head-on. Similarly, he doesn’t quite have the mass to plow through congested areas in short-yardage situations. He does look a bit lean for 220 and may come in lighter than expected.
As a creator, while Miller is elite in his best moments, he does occasionally hesitate at the second level while trailing blockers. He sometimes passes up open cutback lanes and plays into defender angles, and occasionally defers inside into congestion, when lanes are available outside.
With his high-energy athleticism, Miller sometimes has a bit of wasted motion in the backfield and can draw defenders in while staying neutral. There are moments where he can be a bit more controlled and efficient with his usage of space.
Among other things, Miller’s route tree is a bit limited, and he’s not yet the versatile chess piece the modern NFL has come to appreciate. While he has great long speed, Miller’s not quite at the breakaway level. And as a blocker, he could be a bit quicker to sense unblocked defenders at times.
Current Draft Projection for TCU RB Kendre Miller
With his surprisingly complete skill set, Miller grades out as an early Day 2 pick. He’s a surefire top-five running back in the 2023 NFL Draft. And for a team that has room to spend on luxury early, he could be a surprise top 50 selection.
Miller doesn’t have the same name recognition as Bijan Robinson or Jahmyr Gibbs. But after evaluating him, it’s clear that Miller has a profile worth considering in the top three among those two. While not quite as dominating as Robinson or as versatile as Gibbs, Miller has the tools to be a standout starter at the NFL level — worth an early-round pick.
At 6’0″ and nearly 220 pounds, Miller has an extremely impressive amalgamation of physical and intangible traits. He’s an explosive, twitchy, and fleet-footed runner with exceptional agility, finesse, and balance both through contact and successive cuts. He has great vision and processing speed, as well as superb creative instincts. On top of that, he provides value as a receiver and a blocker on passing downs.
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The biggest drawback with Miller may regard the issue of physicality. He’s physical and urgent in nature, with great targeted physicality on tape, but he doesn’t quite have the mass to consistently bowl over defenders. Miller’s also not exceedingly effective in short-yardage situations.
Regardless, Miller’s pallet of traits gives him scheme versatility between different run concepts, and his value on passing downs only compounds his projected value. Add in the fact that Miller will be just a 21-year-old rookie with very little wear on his tires, and he’s easy to get behind as an early NFL starter with impact potential and a long prime ahead.