TCU RB Kendre Miller was a breakout star of the 2022 campaign, and production tends to correlate with success at the NFL level. But does Miller’s 2023 NFL Draft scouting report match the hype? For a prospect who only turns 21 years old this summer, he’s already well on his way to an opportunity on the biggest stage.
Kendre Miller NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Running Back
- School: TCU
- Current Year: Junior
- Height/Weight: 5’11”, 215 pounds
- Length: 32 3/8″
- Hand: 9 3/8″
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.
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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 224 carries for 1,399 yards and 17 touchdowns while helping his team reach the College Football Playoff.
Miller parlayed his dominant production into an early declaration for the 2023 NFL Draft, and now he joins an incredibly deep RB group. Does he have the talent to be one of the first players off the board at his position?
Kendre Miller Scouting Report
The ability to create is growing more and more valuable in the modern NFL, and Miller has that ability more than most RB prospects. Is his creation style translatable, and is he versatile enough to earn a premier role?
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 over-pursuing, 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 flashes as a receiver out of the backfield. While he never commanded high volume, he can adequately guide in passes with his hands. The TCU RB has very good instincts and adjusts for off-target passes on short notice.
Expanding on Miller’s receiving upside, the TCU RB is able to quickly reset his feet for running after the catch, and his athleticism translates very well as a receiving threat. There’s reason to believe that, if afforded more opportunities in the NFL, he could capitalize and grow within that phase.
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 215 pounds and is more wiry than you’d expect at that size.
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 when he can be a bit more controlled and efficient with his usage of space. He’ll dance too much behind the line at times and waste time and energy when he should commit to lanes sooner and be more decisive with his initial reads.
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
Miller grades out as a potential top-50 prospect and a top-five running back prospect on my board. His skill set is surprisingly well-rounded, and there’s reason to believe he can expand on his versatility at the next level and add more elements to his game. Miller may ultimately go late Day 2 or early Day 3, but he can be a steal in that range.
At 5’11” and 215 pounds, Miller has enough mass to be a workhorse, and within that frame, he has an impressive amalgamation of physical and intangible traits. As a runner, he’s explosive, twitchy, fleet-footed, and brings great agility and finesse. Both through contact and successive cuts, he’s incredibly well-balanced, and he also flashes great vision, processing speed, and creative instincts.
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There are questions to note with Miller. While he has great creative instincts, he can be too inefficient behind the line. He’s also much more of a projection at receiver than desired, although much like Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III in the 2022 NFL Draft, he has traits that could be magnified in the receiving game with more volume at the next level.
Ultimately, Miller’s non-elite efficiency in short-yardage situations and his lack of high-end mass might be two of his most pressing issues. He’s physical and urgent in nature, but he won’t consistently bowl over defenders, and he is more comfortable working with space.
Regardless, Miller’s pallet of traits gives him scheme versatility between different run concepts, and his value on passing downs — both as a projected receiver and a proven blocker — 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.