Late in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons set forth to add more talent to their young secondary. It’s time to dissect the skill set of new 5th round rookie corner, Jordan Miller.
Change within the Falcons secondary was pretty much predestined after a 2018 season in which the Falcons was 27th in passing yards allowed and 29th in passing touchdowns allowed. Sprinkle in the contractual circumstance of former Falcons Robert Alford and Brian Poole and the team set forth a plan to improve on what was a season long obstacle for the defense. During this year’s draft, the Falcons decided to address the secondary with a couple of athletic prospects with hopes of providing better skill to the unit. Let’s take a look at their 2019 fifth round selection, Washington cornerback Jordan Miller.
Jordan Miller Scouting Report
Weight: 186 lbs
Career stats: 61 total tackles, six interceptions, 11 pass deflections, three forced fumbles
Games watched: 2018 vs. Washington State, 2018 vs. Utah, 2018 vs. Utah (Pac-12 title game), 2019 vs. Ohio State
Strengths: Miller has considerable height and length that fits in the Falcons Cover-3 scheme and what they want to do. Miller has track experience dating back to high school in the 100-meter and long jump competitions. His recorded 4.49 speed at the NFL Combine does not necessarily show up on film but that is largely due to his long striding motion as a runner. Nevertheless, Miller is able to keep stride against receivers in deep coverage. The corner out of San Diego well times his punch on the ball to contest catches. That punch also comes into play when Miller is tasked to play press coverage.
According to Pro Football Focus, Miller allowed a 23.0 passer rating when targeted on deep throws during his collegiate career and did not allow a reception on a deep ball the past two seasons. His overall footwork as a corner is another one of his positives in his skill set. Playing the ball while in the air does not happen often for Miller but when he does, he becomes the receiver and has a “the ball is mine” mentality.
Weaknesses: Lanky, thin frame that can use some weight to battle the bigger, faster NFL receivers. While he ran well at the Combine, Miller only mustered up six total reps on the 225-lb bench press. That raises notable red flags in regards to his play strength overall. The lack of play strength plays a hand in his overall tackling ability which is average at best. His contributions in run defense should not be relied upon just yet. Miller will show signs of abandoning his technique and resorts to getting a little grabby. Miller’s change of direction ability also needs a little work.
Conclusion: The cornerback position was the second position where the Falcons decided to take two prospects and for me, the selection of Miller was a mild surprise. Hopes have been established that second-year corner Isaiah Oliver is ready to be a full-time starter and versatile defensive back Damontae Kazee will see considerable time as a slot corner. So depth was needed to be improved.
Miller reminds me a little of 2015 second round pick Jalen Collins, albeit a poor man’s version. Both are long corners who didn’t have great size in terms of weight but provided length, solid straight line speed but also lacked overall physicality with questionable play strength. Hopefully, Miller does not bring the constant headaches that Collins provided but Miller is what head coach Dan Quinn prefers in his corners. Year one will be a trying out phase and most of his field play will likely come via special teams. However, Miller can be a fit as a dime corner in spots during his rookie year and if he’s able to get stronger, has potential down the line to be a starter if need be.