Jordan Miller was a 3-star recruit coming out of Southern California when he committed to the Huskies as a part of Coach Petersen’s 2nd recruiting class. He was a bit of a sleeper recruit at the time because he played behind other D1 prospects and didn’t become a full-time starter until his senior season. But at 6’1 he had prototypical size and plenty of athleticism excelling in both the 100-meter and long jump in track.
The UW corner position was manned by Sidney Jones and Kevin King upon Miller’s arrival on campus but he played in every game on special teams and got into the action in a few games with the second unit. Playing time was similarly difficult to come by with those two entrenched as starters in his sophomore year although Miller still managed an interception for the second consecutive season in his limited snaps.
Once both Jones and King headed for the draft, Miller earned a starting corner spot and was immediately sensational. In the first 7 games of the season he had 2 INTs, 7 PBUs, a forced fumble and some of the best passer rating against numbers in college football. Unfortunately, Miller suffered a gruesome leg injury in the closing seconds of an upset loss at Arizona State which ended his junior campaign. There was some debate about whether Miller would need a redshirt season before coming back but he felt good enough to play and stepped back into his starting spot opposite Byron Murphy right away.
He missed two games due to injury but Miller ended up playing just over 60% of the total snaps for the Huskies in 2018. His numbers were slightly better than in 2017 (2 INTs, 8 PBUs) but he played in a few extra games.
Miller’s performance at the NFL Draft Combine was solid although there were a few areas of concern. Managing just 6 reps on the bench press was a bad look that will likely have some scouts concerned about Miller’s lack of strength affecting his ability to effectively jam receivers at the line and fight through blocks in the run game. However, his 91st percentile arm length, 83rd percentile hand size, and 65th percentile vertical jump numbers suggest a corner who is effective at coming down with the ball in traffic.
And that’s exactly what Miller was able to do time and again in his Husky career. Based on my game charting, opposing QB’s completed 19/34 passes (56%) for 183 yards with 3 TDs and 2 INTs when Miller was the closest defender this past season. That’s good for a college passer rating of 118.5 (for context, Jake Browning’s passer rating was 142.5).
However, most of those completions were quick throws when Miller was playing in off coverage. Opponents went 14/16 for 91 yards on throws fewer than 10 yards downfield. If you want to attack Jordan Miller you better do it on quick throws behind the line of scrimmage or quick stick routes. Because taking shots against him will not turn out in your favor.
Washington CB Jordan Miller (#23) was somewhat up-and-down, but this is textbook technique in coverage. Very good developmental potential. #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/pEhW9RfZPj— Kevin Brown (@NFLdraftnik) April 6, 2019
Opposing QB’s were just 2/11 on throws 15+ yards downfield while Miller had a pair of interceptions and 5 pass breakups. He did give up one deep touchdown this year against Colorado but otherwise was nearly flawless on deep throws. Miller’s at his best when able to mirror a receiver working down the sideline and put himself in a position to use his height/length to get his arms between the ball and the receiver.
NFL Draft Projection
In the NFL, Miller will be best served going to a team that uses him in a cover 3 type alignment where he doesn’t have to worry as much about tracking a receiver across the middle of the field. It rarely seems to work out like this but if the Seahawks wait until the 5th/6th round to take a corner then Miller seems like the kind of late round press corner they love to draft and develop.
The current consensus is that Day 3 is when Miller can expect to hear his name called anywhere between the late 4th to 6th round. The 2017 injury was skeletal rather than soft tissue which makes it less likely to be a recurring problem but some teams may take him off of their board when combining it with the few games missed in 2018 depending on the results of Miller’s physical. No team can take Miller and expect him to be an elite lockdown “shadow your best receiver everywhere” type of corner but he has enough strengths that a smart team who puts him in the right position to succeed has a good chance of getting a multi-year starter and a steal late in the draft.