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NFL Draft prospect to know: Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis

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Former walk-on to first-round pick?

NCAA Football: East Carolina at Memphis Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Blogging The Boys will begin taking a look at some of the NFL Draft prospects that will be in the 2018 NFL Draft class. Some weeks, we will look at potential targets that will be within the Cowboys’ expected draft range. Others, we will highlight some of the elite members of the class.

Another week, another draft prospect to familiarize yourself with here at BTB!

We have looked at eleven defensive prospects — ranging from defensive tackle to cornerback — and three offensive prospects — three wide receivers and one offensive tackle. The Cowboys could opt to add a weapon to Dak Prescott’s arsenal, but they could also continue building their defense in some capacity.

This week, we will take a look at a potential first-round pick at wide receiver. We have looked at Oklahoma State’s James Washington, Alabama’s Calvin Ridley and USC’s Deontay Burnett, but here is yet another target that the Cowboys should consider in the first two rounds.

Anthony Miller — wide receiver, Memphis Tigers

5-foot-11
190
Senior

NCAA Football: Navy at Memphis Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

One of the more intriguing prospects in this year’s draft class exemplifies what a strong work ethic can do.

Anthony Miller, one of the elite receivers in the 2018 crop, was a former walk-on at the University of Memphis. The Tennessee native excelled in both football and track in high school, but was overlooked by schools once his prep career concluded. As a result, Miller walked-on at his hometown school and eventually earned a scholarship, broke records, and is set to be an early pick this upcoming April.

Miller’s career did not start off as many top prospects’ do. Not only was he not on scholarship, he didn’t play a single snap for two seasons. The wideout redshirted his initial season on campus, using the year to build muscle in hopes of becoming a scholarship player. The very next year, he injured his shoulder — ending his redshirt freshman season before it even began.

In 2015 though, Miller began to leave his mark on the Tigers’ program. During his first season of action, the Memphis native hauled in 47 receptions for 694 yards and an impressive five touchdowns from future first-round pick Paxton Lynch. He slowly, but surely, showed what he was capable of when getting meaningful snaps.

Transfer quarterback Riley Ferguson took over the starting role at quarterback for Memphis after Lynch departed for the draft. Miller instantly clicked with his new signal-caller. As a junior, Miller recorded a whopping 95 receptions for 1,434 yards, and 14 touchdowns. He averaged 15.1 yards per grab and even recorded a rushing score. His widely impressive campaign was one for the ages, per his Memphis profile:

Started all 13 games … Put together the best season by a receiver in school history … Set school season records for receptions (95), receiving yards (1,434), TD catches (14) and 100-yard receiving games (8) … Led the squad with 1,600 all-purpose yards (69 rush/1,434 receive/97 punt return) … His 1,600 all-purpose yards are the fourth-most for a season in program history (top-three season all-purpose yardage totals are held by DeAngelo Williams

His junior season earned him second-team All-Conference honors and put his name on the NFL radar, but he opted to return for his final season in his hometown — to prove that he is the real deal before moving onto the next level — and boy, has he.

Miller, in 12 games, caught 92 passes for 1,407 yards and 17 touchdowns (that is not a typo). He averaged a career high 15.3 yards per reception in 2017, prior to his bowl game. It is clear that Miller has explosive big play ability. He was named to the Associated Press’ 2017 All-American first-team for his widely impressive final campaign.

As you would expect, Miller has been a hot name in the draft community. Some, like Bleacher Report’s Joseph Zucker, has the Memphis wideout in the first round (24th overall to Cam Newton and the Panthers). Whether he is selected on the first day or not, Miller should hear his name called fairly early. And here’s why:




Miller is a hard-working athlete that has developed from a high school graduate with no offers to a potential first- or second-rounder. His big play ability would instantly give the Cowboys a legitimate deep threat, opening the offense in a big way for both Dak and Zeke.

Whether it day one or day two, he needs to be on the Cowboys’ radar.

*Gifs courtesy of SkyDesigns; stats gathered from sports-reference.com

Catch up with our previous installments below!

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Austin Bryant, DE Clemson

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Tarvarus McFadden, CB Florida State

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Martinas Rankin, OL Mississippi State

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Dre’Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Daron Payne, DT, Alabama

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Isaiah Oliver, CB, Colorado

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Harold Landry, DE, Boston College

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Derwin James, Safety, Florida State

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Ronnie Harrison, Safety, Alabama

NFL Draft Prospect to Know: Deontay Burnett, WR, USC