Better Know a Jacksonville Jaguar: University of Florida Center Drew Miller:
[Note by River City Rage, 06/10/08 12:10 AM EDT ]
A good friend of Big Cat Country, Clodknocker, was kind enough to write this fantastic article about one of the newest Jaguars, Drew Miller. Drew is the only offensive linemen acquired by the Jaguars during the offseason and has a better shot to make the team than most of our UFA's. Enjoy!
Drew comes from the University of Florida, where Jack Del Rio seems to have developed a relationship with Florida Coach Urban Meyer, and where the Jaguars have seemingly developed a pipeline for drafting 1th round picks; Reggie Nelson in 2007, and Derrick Harvey in 2008.
He also played on a National Championship team. When asked about starting for the Gators on that team by GatorBait.net , he said:
'That was amazing! There is nothing you can compare that to...It's the best feeling I can think of for a player on a team to feel...'
Mark Wheeler, the interviewer continued, ' You snapped the ball to and blocked for a Heisman Trophy winner. How big is that?'
It's definitely something I'll always remember. Playing with such a special person such as Tim Tebow-I'll never forget that. That's something the entire line took a lot of pride in. Everyone thought he would get killed keeping the ball as much as he did...When he won it (the Heisman Trophy), I was as happy as if I had won it. He's such a great person...'
Drew spent his time after the season's end training in Sarasota with Rich Lansky's O. P.T.I. He participated in the East-West All-Star game in January. Since then, he has been training at home eight hours a day doing position work or working on his speed and lifting weights.
He tells me that he feels equally comfortable playing center, guard, or tackle. His OTA reps, however, were mostly at center with a few at left guard. He practiced with the second team some which featured Cleo Lemon as quarterback, but most of his reps were with the third team which featured Todd Bauman and Paul Smith as quarterbacks.
I asked, ' Of the veteran players who has been the most helpful'? Without hesitation, he answered, 'Tony Pashos' Tony is willing to stay after practice and watch films with him. I added, ' What player are you most impressed with?' Again, without hesitation, he said, 'Brad Meester'. He said that Brad makes playing center look easy and he knows how to leverage his position. Right now, Brad is busy trying to raise money for the victims of a tornado that hit his home town , Parkersburg, Iowa. The Jaguars are selling ball caps with the logo of Brad's high school to help raise additional monies.
What are his expectations for the future? He plans to work hard with the offence and also earn a position on Special Teams. One thing is for sure; he wants to stay in Jacksonville. These are the three reasons. One; It is close to his home in Sarasota. Two; He likes the city. Three; He likes the chemistry of the team.
Positives: Works hard every snap, and is athletic enough to get into position to reach or wall off a defender. ... Adequate burst and feet to combo block and get to the linebacker. ... Handles shotgun snaps well. ... Able to pull and trap fairly quickly, and gets out in front of screens. ... Smart player who makes line calls.
Negatives: Does not play to size and weight room strength on the field. ... Gets blown off the ball by better, stronger tackles. ... Reaches too much in pass protection, instead of moving his feet. ... Often off-balance and lunging when blocking downfield, so he is only adequate at finding and adjusting to targets on the move. ... Lacks a mean streak. ... Not much of a drive blocker. ... Punch is lacking and he does not sustain well
Measuring an offensive lineman is tricky without hours and hours of coaches film to breakdown and diagnose plays. What we do know is that the anchor of the University of Florida offensive line that generated 200.2 rushing yards per game and surrendered only 13 sacks in 13 games. Tim Tebow would not have been Tim Tebow were it not for the offensive line, and Drew Miller was the center of it all, no pun intended.
Why will he make the team?
He's a young and developing talent on a team that has an opportunity for putting a jar on the shelf on for the offensive line. He's the only acquired player on the line, and if you're not adding the big guys, you'll be hurting in a very short time. Brad Meester is secure as can be as a starter, but it's certainly not a bad thing to look at his long term replacement. More likely than not, Drew is playing for a spot on the practice squad, as the numbers battle will probably preclude him from the starting roster. His best interest would be to show an ability to play other positions on the line in the case of injury and build his value from there.
[Note by River City Rage, 06/10/08 12:19 AM EDT ]: Big thanks to Drew Miller and Clodknocker for putting this together!