January 30, 2016 - Aaron Wilson
Ohio State wide receiver Braxton Miller wows NFL teams at Senior Bowl
MOBILE, Ala. - Bolting into his pattern during a Senior Bowl all-star game practice, Braxton Miller completely spun around Northern Iowa cornerback Deiondre' Hall. Hall had neglected to apply press coverage against the converted Ohio State quarterback, a costly mistake. Miller displayed a physical nature and lightning-quick feet and change of direction skills during red-zone drills where he won several matchups with feisty Minnesota cornerback Eric Murray. He beat Murray for a touchdown on a quick slant, getting out of his break quickly. Murray lost his temper at that point and ripped off Miller's helmet. "My man from Minnesota is really aggressive," Miller said. "I asked him how many flags he got this year. We're cool out there, though. It's competitive, so it's fun." Miller impressed NFL scouts and coaches with his burgeoning ability as a wide receiver after starting his career as the Buckeyes' starting quarterback. Miller is more advanced in his game as a receiver than NFL scouts thought he'd be at this stage, displaying an understanding of leverage, route-running, body control and eye-popping, rare athleticism. "I'm here to show you guys what I'm capable of in terms of playing inside receiver or outside receiver going against the best defensive backs," Miller said. "I knew I wanted to come here and check a lot of things off after leaving the Senior Bowl. "From now on, I'm a receiver. That's how I think now and all I want to do now is be the best I can possibly be. I'm still working on my craft everyday. Some of the stuff comes naturally, but I still got to work on the technique." The 6-1, 204-pound Ohio native provided a boost to his draft stock this week after catching 26 passes for 341 yards and three touchdowns as a senior and rushing for 260 yards and a touchdown last season. "The transition from quarterback to receiver, he clearly is a great athlete," Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "He has to learn a lot of the skills that the receiver position requires. But if you watch his arc, he's made great strides in three practices. It's a real tribute to his ability, but maybe more than that, just the approach he takes. "It can be challenging. There's no question about it. You see the game differently. He's an awfully good football player. He demonstrated that at Ohio State and to me the strides he's made has been significant. Clearly a great athlete and a productive football player and someone that has a lot of upside." Miller rushed for 3,655 career yards and 36 touchdowns, passing for 5,295 career yards, 52 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He could fit into an NFL roster as a slot receiver or outside, see spot action as a running back and return kicks. "I feel like every team needs playmakers and they've mentioned that I can do it all whether it's being a punt returner, in the backfield as a decoy and playing on the outside," Miller said. "It's a great feeling being able to do all that stuff and still learn so much at the same time. Miller will still face questions about his durability and how long it will take for him to become a complete wide receiver. The NFL scouting combine in February should be a showcase for Miller, who says he's hoping to run under 4.3 seconds in the 40-yard dash. "It's going to be a low 4.3, but I want to run 4.28 seconds," said Miller, who "I feel like I'm capable because I ran 4.36 when I was 215 pounds and I had bad eating habits, too. Now I'm on a strict diet, working out and training hard." Follow me on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL Aaron Wilson covers the Texans for The Houston Chronicle.