New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees had another outstanding season in 2017, throwing for over 4,300 yards with only 8 interceptions to go along with his 23 touchdown passes. Saints 2nd year wide receiver Michael Thomas achieved superstar status, going over 1,000 yards receiving for the second year in a row (1,245) on a team-record 104 receptions, catching 5 touchdowns and earning his first Pro Bowl berth. The rest of the Saints receiving corps, however, did little to contribute to the team's passing success. Veteran Ted Ginn had perhaps the best season of his 11-yr. career in his first season with New Orleans, catching 53 passes for 787 yards and 4 scores, but the rest of this unit struggled. Thomas accounted for over 52% of the wideout receptions, and 48% of the yardage output. The Saints offense struggled on 3rd downs in part to the failure of their complimentary weapons, converting just 37% of opportunities. Today's draft profile features a player that could give the New Orleans offense a threat on every level of the field.
Anthony Miller, WR (Memphis)
Miller attended Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, TN, where he was a state high school champion in the 110m hurdles as well as a runner-up in the long jump. He went to Memphis as a walk-on, where he would redshirt in 2013 and 2014 due to injury. After a solid season for the Tigers in 2015 he exploded in 2016, catching 95 passes for 1,434 yards and 14 touchdowns. He followed that up with an even better encore performance last year, catching 96 balls for a school record 1,462 yards and 18 scores, earning consensus All-American honors. Miller finished his career at Memphis as the school's all-time leader in receptions, yards, and receiving touchdowns. Miller did not participate in the on field drills at the NFL Scouting Combine in March, due to a foot injury suffered in the Liberty Bowl, but his 22 bench press reps were 2nd among all wideouts at the combine. He was able to showcase his athletic ability at his Pro day, running a reported 4.46 40-yd. dash and jumping a 39 inch vertical jump, but had to cut his day short due to cramps.
Miller plays with an intensity and chip on his shoulder reminiscent to some of former NFL pro bowl receiver Steve Smith. He is a dangerous open field runner, using his blockers effectively on screens, showing good elusiveness, and fighting through tacklers for extra yardage. Miller gets separation by accelerating into his routes, and uses upper body fakes to set up double moves. He has excellent body control, adjusts to the ball well, and has strong hands to make the tough catch in traffic. His size can cause him problems against bigger and more physical corners, particularly from the outside. Miller needs to work on running crisper routes to get better separation on the pro level. Despite his knack for the tough catch, he can have lapses in concentration that leads to easy drops.
Nfl.com comparison: Kendall Wright (Vikings)
The Saints recent signing of wideout Cameron Meredith greatly bolsters their receiving corps, but New Orleans could greatly benefit from adding another gamebreaking threat. Anthony Miller is an explosive threat from either the slot or outside. He can get deep quickly, and can break a short pass into a big play. He does have a little experience returning punts, and may be asked to do so in the NFL due to his open field abilities. Miller is among a solid group of wideouts expected to be drafted anywhere between the mid-2nd and late 4th rounds. His collegiate production, versatility, competitive drive, and athleticism give him the look of a mid-round steal, and a potential star at the NFL level.