Sunday, February 27, 2011
Miller attractive, out of range for Texans
By Paul Kuharsky
INDIANAPOLIS -- It would likely take a trade up or an unexpected draft-day tumble for the Houston Texans to land Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller.
Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller likely won't fall to the No. 11 pick.
But what a nice match it would be for a team switching to a 3-4 and in need of outside linebackers to add him.
“It would be great to play for the Houston Texans, an hour away from Aggieland,” Miller said at the combine Saturday. “It’s a strong Aggie following, all over the world but particularly in Houston. We’ve got a lot of fans out there. It’s an hour away from College Station. Houston and Dallas, they both have a lot of Aggies there. I think it would be great to play for the Aggies and the Houston Texans for … years to come.”
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay says Miller is one of the eight elite players in the draft and won’t be an option for the Texans, but that the space between him and the next top linebackers is big enough he’s certainly worth trading up to get. He said Miller is perfectly suited to be a strongside linebacker in a 4-3.
“The only question you have to answer is, is he a perfect fit for your 3-4?” McShay said. “Because he’s only 237 pounds, maybe you get him to 245 without jeopardizing his explosiveness. After that, there’s [North Carolina defensive end] Robert Quinn, he’s fluid and athletic enough, that’s a possibility. But after that, there is a drop-off. [UCLA’s] Akeem Ayers is a good player. He has experience dropping, he does a good job turning the edge and getting up on the quarterback, but he’s not as instinctive or as consistent against the run as Von Miller.”
The Texans initial plan for Wade Phillips’ 3-4 has DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing playing inside. They expect to convert Connor Barwin from a 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 outside backer. They need at least one more quality option.
Miller would love to be that guy, playing for a fellow Aggie in Gary Kubiak.
It’s hard to envision the tumble to 11, though, and I sure feel like Houston’s got too many needs -- at both safety slots, for another outside linebacker, for a nose tackle, and perhaps for a receiver -- to give up picks to go get him.