Jarrad Davis was the last Florida Gators linebacker to be drafted to the NFL. When Roger Goodell opens the 2022 NFL Draft, it will be five years since Davis’ selection. However, the young man who drew comparisons to Davis coming out of high school has earned early consideration as a potential first-round talent. Can Ventrell Miller live up to that early hype in the 2022 NFL Draft? Let’s check out the Florida LB’s scouting report!
Ventrell Miller NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Linebacker
- School: Florida
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height: 6’1″
- Weight: 230 pounds
Ventrell Miller Scouting Report
With Miller earning early first-round consideration, is there anything in his scouting report that justifies that opinion?
The Florida LB’s calling cards are strength and sideline-to-sideline speed. Miller appears to possess impressive upper body strength, which is evident in multiple ways. When he builds a head of steam, he’s a formidable tackler, demonstrating the ability to lay the wood on contact. Additionally, there were few examples of opposing players evading his grasp once he successfully wraps up.
Although his high school testing suggests otherwise, there are examples on his college tape where Miller exhibits excellent sideline-to-sideline speed. This was particularly evident against Texas A&M, where he flew across the field to break up a pass intended for Jalen Wydermyer. Another example of his speed was when going toe to toe with Ainias Smith downfield.
Miller was lauded for his play-recognition prowess, and he has demonstrated the ability to read the play, fight through traffic, and be impactful. He has also proven to be effective in zone coverage. Furthermore, he uses football intelligence to good use as a blitzer, displaying an appreciation of timing to get into the backfield.
Areas for improvement
Conversely, is there anything in his scouting report which suggests that the first-round hype is a little premature or unwarranted?
There are definite areas for improvement in Miller’s game. Despite demonstrating solid play speed, sometimes his motor runs cold, and you get the feeling that he could chase with a little more vigor. Against Georgia, he made Zamir White look like Usain Bolt with a sluggish approach to pursuing the running back down.
Moreover, there are some concerns over his athletic profile. The Florida LB isn’t remarkably fluid in his movements, which is noticeable when in man coverage. There is no flipping of his hips which leaves him at a disadvantage against twitchier slot receivers.
Finally, although he has impressive strength, Miller’s shorter than ideal length means that he struggles to escape from the clutches of blockers. This occurs when he can’t outright overpower his opponent, effectively neutralizing the Florida Gator.
Ventrell Miller’s Player Profile
Despite a relatively low ranking, Miller was a heavily recruited high school star out of Kathleen in Lakeland. He was a three-star prospect, regarded as the 36th outside linebacker, and wasn’t viewed as a top-500 player in the nation. Nonetheless, the Florida native LB received over 30 college offers. Almost every local program tried to tie down the Lakeland-based prospect. Meanwhile, programs like Kentucky, Ole Miss, and South Carolina offered him the opportunity to play in the SEC.
Three-star prospects are hardly a rarity. So, why the interest in Miller? Coming out of the same Kathleen program that had produced Ray Lewis, Miller’s physicality and play recognition had earned him the early comparison to Davis. Furthermore, he’d been an extremely productive performer. As a junior, Miller earned Florida High School 7A All-State honors after tallying 104 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, and 5 pass breakups.
In his senior season, he was named the Lakeland Ledger Defensive Player of the Year in Polk County while also receiving second-team All-State honors. By this time, however, Miller had already shut down his recruiting. Before his senior season kicked off, Miller committed to the Gators, citing “the relationship with the coaches” as one reason. Furthermore, he stated, “I would be a very good fit in their defense.”
Ventrell Miller’s career at Florida
Although Miller would eventually become a full-time fixture in the Florida LB group, his journey to the 2022 NFL Draft hasn’t been without drama. As a true freshman, the young linebacker was hit with a year-long suspension for his part in a felony. Alongside several teammates, Miller was charged with the fraudulent use of a credit card and identity theft.
Upon his return from suspension, Miller had to earn his place on the team. In 2018, he saw time in 13 games as a reserve linebacker and special-teams contributor. However, his talent wouldn’t be denied. In his debut against Charleston Southern, he tallied 4 tackles and a first career sack. During the game against Idaho, he returned an 82-yard interception for his first career touchdown.
Miller forces his way into the Florida starting lineup
Having ended his first season with 15 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and an interception, Miller forced himself into the starting lineup for the 2019 campaign. In the season opener against Miami, he proved his worth with 2 sacks and 2 tackles for loss as part of a then-career-high 6-tackle performance. The young linebacker finished second on the team with 55 tackles, secured 5.5 tackles for loss, and 3 sacks.
Opening the season strong became a recurring theme for Miller in 2020. Ole Miss was on the wrong side of a 15-tackle, 2-tackle for loss, 1-sack performance — the Florida LB earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week recognition for the feat. It set the tone for a season where he led the team with 86 tackles. Additionally, Miller contributed 3.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss in 2020. Although he could have declared for last year’s draft, he opted to return to the Gators.
The first round is a little rich right now. Still, Miller has another season to elevate his 2022 NFL Draft stock.