Each draft class has players who stand out from day one. Bijan Robinson was a certified star from his first touch in Austin, for example. What really makes a class deep is the players who develop over the course of their career, eventually becoming a prospect who gets dynasty managers excited. One such player is Kendre Miller, a modest three-star composite recruit who nearly played linebacker at the collegiate level. He is the type of talent who rounds out a class and gives us reason to get excited about our late first and second-round rookie picks.
Perhaps I buried the lede here discussing Miller’s recruitment profile in the opening, but it has been an abnormal track. He committed to former head honcho Gary Patterson on signing day in 2020, the third-lowest-rated player in the Horned Frogs class. He was the 1,616th-ranked player nationally. It is a loftier perch than most football players reach, yet it speaks to how much he has outperformed recruiting expectations.
Miller had only one offer from the Power 5: TCU. Said offer came late in the recruiting process, indicating Miller was either a late riser or the Horned Frogs had some spots to fill and saw something in the Texas product. Due to limited exposure, there are not many scouting reports detailing Miller’s high school exploits.
Despite modest expectations, Miller hit the ground running in Forth Worth. His 388 rushing yards as a true freshman nearly matched the much more ballyhooed Zach Evans’ 415, with each toting the rock 54 times. Miller’s role expanded in 2021 despite still finding himself in an RBBC with Evans. In 2022, Evans was at Ole Miss and Miller exploded, finishing 15th in the nation in rushing and playing an integral role in TCU’s surprising run to the national championship game.
- Solid 220-pound frame
- Easy acceleration and the long speed to create big plays
- Competitive runner who puts defenders on their heels
- Maintains his feet at the point of contact thanks to excellent contact balance
- Smooth receiver who turns from receiver to runner in a heartbeat
- His aggressive running style can often invite contact; he can miss out on extra yardage by initiating contact as opposed to finding space
- While a capable receiver, he has not been asked to be much more than a check-down option to this point in his career
The mock draft community has not quite yet caught on to Miller. An overall rank of 180th is comically low for what could prove to be a top-five runner in this draft. He looks likely to hear his name called on day two barring a disastrous pre-draft process.
Miller’s profile is likely to grow over the coming months. Despite having a monster season for one of the nation’s best teams, neither Miller nor TCU are national brands. As managers are able to go back and do a thorough review of the 2022 season, he is someone who should hit more radars.
Miller’s strength is in his well-rounded game. He has a well-built frame. He plays with high-end athleticism. He has improved every year and looks to still be scratching the surface of his potential. It is unfortunate he was forced to miss the national championship game as it would have been the ultimate platform for him to flash his talents.
It seems unlikely Miller is the type of back who dominates a backfield and assumes 300-plus touches, but those runners are few and far between. He has the tools to lead a backfield and should be drafted as such. Day two can be the sweet spot for running back values and it is my best guess for where he lands.
Bijan Robinson leads the class and is its top back. We have a lot of confidence in Jahmyr Gibbs becoming a unique playmaker for a team, with his elite receiving skills and overall athleticism having him poised to become a fantasy asset. Beyond those two, the fight to be the third rookie runner off the board is intense. You have Miller’s former teammate, Zach Evans, a talented back who has battled some inconsistency during his career. There is Zach Charbonnet, a big runner who in the mold of Miller does a little bit of everything and has a feature back frame.
Believe it or not, there are more than just Zachs vying for the spot. Sean Tucker is an athletic back who thrives in space with his wind-up toy type of energy. Devon Achane is a track star with football skills to match. The competition for Miller in the draft’s second tier of runners is stiff, though Miller has the ability to separate from the pack in Indianapolis. If he tests well, his combination of athleticism and incredibly efficient performance could make him a round-two selection and the third runner off the board.
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