Back To Basics: The Von Miller Edition

I never really gave Von Miller much thought, why I am still not sure of but tonight I got to watch him live for the first time and man was I impressed. I then went on the net and did some more research on Miller, I also took a look at a few of his games from 2009 and 2010 and man he really impressed me with his speed and pass rushing. Von Miller just shot up my draft board, and I have seen him ranked as the 11th overall prospect in the NFL Draft on Scouts Inc. I have been stressing during the Back To Basics series the need of pass rush, and how a good pass rush affects the whole defense. I witnessed a amazing player in the Cotton Bowl, and he is all over playing that Joker position. Ive stressed the waiting on Anthony Spencer scenario, but after watching Von Miller and his explosive first step, I think it may be time to get ourselves the perfect compliment to DeMarcus Ware. DeMarcus Ware is like chocolate, he tastes great with everything. What DeMarcus doesn't have is his peanut butter. D-Ware needs his peanut butter to compliment him and make him better, having chocolate is great alone, but having it with some peanut butter is a whole other level.

Von Miller is a explosive pass rusher from Texas A&M, at 6'2 (or 6'3 depending on the draft service) and 240 pounds he has enough size for a 3-4 OLB. Von Miller easily could of called it a day and entered the NFL Draft in 2010 after leading the nation in sacks with 17, 4 fumbles, and 21 tackles for losses. Von Miller decided to come back to school, a admirable trait that I gotta give him credit for because if I knew I was going to make serious money, I am saying PEACE to college. Miller still had a productive season this year for the Aggies with a 10 sack season and improved on his skill. What I really think makes this kid special is his first step, he is explosive in that first step and has great speed to close in on his target. What I like about Miller is he has other moves he will use, he uses a spin move that's pretty effective and is starting to get better with his hands, and at the next level thats something he definitely will work on. See Anthony Spencer had the same thing I was drooling over, that great first step coming out of college, but he simply does not possess the speed and quickness Von Miller has. Alot of us call Spencer, "Almost Anthony" for a good reason, he is always a second late. Spencer IMO never worked on his craft to the point where he developed more moves, and yeah we can give him another year, but I am about tired of waiting and watching Miller really makes me want to draft Von Miller for us 9th overall.

What I am going to rave and rave about is Miller's speed and quickness, but with that speed he can make plays in the run game and the open field. He is a strong tackler and will get down and dirty to make those plays. One problem could be when teams decide to run at Miller, but any 3-4 OLB is going to have trouble with that, and that might be Miller's only real flaw, and I dont think that's a major flaw. LSU decided to attack Miller with the run game in the Cotton Bowl after Miller was getting serious pressure on LSU. I think Miller is going to continue to get stronger, as he is a workout rat and won a team award for weightlifting. Working on the point of attack and good coaching can make him better when it comes to teams running at him to attempt to take him out of the game, but what is also great is we have DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff and are a pretty solid run defense when we have the right parts in there. He has great reaction skills, as in having Ware-like skill in coming off the line, but the quick reaction time also allows him to make the quick change and react needed to make plays over the course of a game. He has the speed to play in some zone, but ideally you want this guy to be doing what he does best, and that's rush the passer. I just think Miller is a way better prospect than what Spencer was coming out of college at Purdue. Now I really like Spencer, I don't dislike him as a player or person, it's just I wanted to wait another year to solve this issue at OLB, but after witnessing a prospect in Von Miller, and then taking the time to look at some game film of him in 2009 and 2010, Von Miller has sold me, this is the guy I want.

Now another pro for me is that Miller's durable and not injury prone. I know that is something alot of BTB fans will start to incquire about any player. Miller has never had any major injuries and is graded out by scouts and drafting services that durability is not a concern. This is a big relief, alot of players we have drafted have that "injury prone" label on them. Von Miller like I said is a workout rat and will continue to get stronger and build his body into the best football shape he can. When I read that he was a hard worker in the gym and had won a team weigh lifting award I was very pleased to hear that, because this also means Von Miller has a strong work ethic. Intangibles like work ethic are a major plus with me, because one thing I will harp on Spencer is his work ethic. From my view it looks like Spencer does not try to learn new moves to succeed at pass rushing, and every good pass rusher will try to hone his craft. I think Miller is a guy that definitely has some moves of his own already, but I get the feeling he is a guy who would soak up anything he can learn from guys like DeMarcus Ware.

One more area I think fans would be pleased to hear is that this is a character kid, no issues or incidents in his college career that I know of anyway. Now "red flag" players doesn't really make me buy into not drafting a player, because if all the BS that was coming out about my favorite player Dez Bryant was true, we never would of drafted him. Von Miller has the character we want, a hard worker on and off the football field. He isn't the most vocal leader but he will lead by example. Now becoming a vocal leader could be something he might be more comfortable with becoming as time goes by, but either way leading by example is a great way to lead regardless. This is also a Texas kid that played his high school ball at DeSoto High School. Now I have always been a fan of keeping Texas kids in state, let them play for the star. Dez Bryant said it was a honor to wear the star, not a privilege. I think Von Miller would LOVE to play for the Dallas Cowboys and to me that is a very great thing. Von Miller getting to play in his home state might be a dream come true for him, it was for Dez Bryant and we landed arguably and IMO one of the best talents in the draft last year, a true top 5 talent. Von Miller is everything we want in a player in the new Jason Garrett Era. Miller is a high character guy, smart, honorable, and a great football player. Von Miller easily could of went to the NFL and been a 1st rd pick last year, but he went back to school to graduate. Now he is going to be a top 15 pick, and IMO higher. Hard work pays off, and I would love for us to select Miller 9th overall this draft.

Now I know we need to fix the OL, and the OL talk has been a major focal point of the Getting Back To Basics series. I just think when the opportunity presents itself to get a premier pass rusher we need to jump on it and get the player that is going to make DeMarcus Ware better and improve the secondary as well. The OL and FS SS spot has to be the major point of attack for the Cowboys management this offseason, and it definitely should be the emphasis of the offseason, besides bringing the right coaching staff to have our players succeed. The OL can be fixed, if we can sign 1 or 2 quality OL in free agency, and there are alot of quality OL on the market this year. If in the draft we can come out with 2 quality OL in the draft, and get some quality in free agency this OL could be back to where we need it to be. Safety is also another serious need and I am not ingoring saftey, we can solve that in free agency or in the 2nd-4th round of the draft. Safety is a big area of concern for me, I want playmakers in the secondary, especially at the FS and SS spot. I am a believer in that we can also fix that in free agency and the draft. In the first round of the draft QB's, CB's, pass rushers, and OL are the most sought after players and they are for the right reasons. I am not ignoring the need for OL and S by the selection of Von Miller 9th overall, it's just when you get the opportunity to draft a premier pass rusher, the opportunity may be too good to pass up on. Von Miller has been in the top 15 talk and the right workout for teams and the combine could shoot him up the board. I saw Von Miller selected 11th overall to the Texans on a recent CBS mock draft. I believe that is the highest I have seen Miller go, but in alot of other mocks I have not seen him fall passed 19 or 20. Von Miller is a premier prospect and I think this could be the guy for us. I just don't see the importance of reaching for a need like OL and taking a guy like Derek Sherrod and Gabe Carimi, even though I love both players for us. But one thing I never want to really do in drafts is reach for need, especially when there are premier players at a position available.

I emphasize the draft so much and its my favorite time of the year because its new hope, its a time where you can forget about all the crap that happened the season before and when you are picking in the top ten it usually means you had some low points in your season. Its a fresh start, just like Coach Garrett is. It is not often the Cowboys get to select in the top 10, Terrence Newman being the last top 10 Cowboys draft pick with the 5th pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. Ware was selected 11th overall in 2005 and I still remember that draft, Ware came from this small school Troy. I remember this straight beast with a shaved head that was this workout warrior that flew up the draft boards and I was so happy we got Ware. High draft selections are the gift teams are given for their poor performances, and I want to capitalize on because we are not a 6-10 football team. We are going to get back a healthy Pro Bowl QB, we got 2 premier WR's, a Pro Bowl TE, the best pass rusher in football, and the best NT in football. We have some nice young talent and some good role players, we have alot of talent that poor teams that draft in the top 10 that simply do not have that level of talent. If we get back to basics, have a proper OL, a better pass rush, and a better secondary we can win football games.

Back to Basics folks, its the fundementals of football that we need to get back to.

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