Today I am going to be discussing the potential value to the Dallas Cowboys of drafting former Oklahoma fullback Trey Millard. Some of you may ask why on Earth would I suggest drafting a fullback in today's NFL? Isn't the position an outdated dinosaur facing certain extinction in the face of the sport's current pass-happy offensive environment? I am here to tell you that Trey Millard is an outstanding H-back prospect who can excel at multiple positions in the NFL. As a result of such versatility he would be a valuable asset to any modern NFL roster.
Let's begin with Millard's measurables. First of all, Millard is a big man, standing 6'2" and weighing in at 253 pounds. Despite this thick frame he is surprisingly quick, having been clocked at around 4.6 in the 40-yard dash. As we shall see, his combination of size, speed, soft hands and toughness makes him a perfect h-back/full-back prospect in the modern NFL.
Let's take a look at Millard's skill sets divided into major categories. As we shall see, Millard's most important attribute is his versatility, which allows him to play multiple positions (FB, HB, TE, Special Teams) throughout the course of the game.
1) Run blocking. Trey Millard excels at run support, using his power to occupy opposing lineman and his quickness to locate his blocks at the second level. He is powerful enough to engage defenders at the point of attack and rarely misses an assignment. For the most part he keeps his pad level low and consistently finishes his blocks through the whistle. He is quick enough to pull on sweeps although he often resorts to cut blocking against more agile defenders in the secondary. Will win nearly all his one-on-one matchups against lineman and linebackers.
2) Pass blocking. Although not quite as impressive as his run blocking, Millard is no slouch blocking for the quarterback. He does a great job of accounting for enemy blitzers and giving his quarterback time to complete passes. He needs to work on his reads in order to be a solid NFL fullback/h-back.
3) Running. In addition to being a great blocker Millard is also an imposing runner. He has excellent vision and always seems to find the correct running lane to burst through. Has limited ability to cut back although he does display agile feet for a man of his size. Millard amassed 538 yards in only 98 carries during his time at Oklahoma, including a long of 61 yards against Kansas State in 2011. During the course of his career he collected six scoring runs and finished with an outstanding 5.5 average YPC. He has several power moves, the most impressive of which is his ability to stiff-arm. Turn on the game tape of the OU-Texas game and watch him hurdle multiple Texas defenders to gain a sense of his outstanding athleticism.
4) Receiving. Trey Millard has the hands most h-backs and tight ends dream of. He rarely drops passes and is deadly in the screen game because of his unparalleled patience in allowing his blocks to be set up. While at OU Millard recorded 70 receptions and gained 677 yards with an impressive 9.7 YPC average. His longest reception netted a cool 73 yards and a score. Moreover Millard collected 7 touchdowns on receiving plays. Obviously not your typical stone-handed fullback.
5) Toughness. Millard was described by OU head coach Bob Stoops as one of his favorite players he has ever coached. High praise coming from man who coached two Heisman Trophy winners and multiple NFL studs such as Adrian Peterson! Prior to the 2013 season Millard rarely missed a game and his physicality set the tone for Oklahoma's high powered offense. In addition to his offensive contributions Millard was also an asset on special teams (in fact he led the team in tackles during the 2011 season).
6) Intangibles. Millard was noted throughout his tenure at Oklahoma for his leadership, serving as a team captain and was a First Team All-Big 12 Academic selection in 2013. Millard was never in trouble while at Oklahoma and should be a solid locker room presence for the team who drafts him.
7) Injuries. The one issue with Millard is the fact that he tore his ACL relatively early in the 2013 season. He has stated that he will be available for the upcoming Combine. This injury (combined with the position he plays) has dropped him from a potential 4th-5th round pick to a 6th-7th rounder. He is currently rated the 239th prospect on the CBS Big Board.
The Cowboys could make particular use of a player with his versatility by lining him up offset in front of Demarco Murry, another former Sooner great. Murray appears to run well behind a fullback and Millard's versatility would allow him to be used in screens and play-action passes to Murray's benefit. Moreover, drafting Millard would allow the Cowboys to make use of more two-tight end and heavy goaline sets and would provide Tony Romo another receiving option out of the backfield. Millard would also provide another useful blocker and tackler on special teams and his versatility would allow the Cowboys to maximize roster space.
My verdict is that Dallas should draft Trey Millard from the 5th round onward. In doing so they will be making an excellent value selection. Let me know what you think about Millard as a player in the comments selection below. Does he sound like a potential future Cowboy to you?