If you want to be the best, you need to beat the best, and rookie cornerback Jordan Miller knows it. That’s why he wants to go up against Julio Jones in practice.
“(Miller), since Day 1, he told me — he pulled me to the side one day, and he was like, I want to cover you. I want to get better,” Jones said after Tuesday’s training camp practice. “So for him to even have that mentality is very impressive.”
It is very impressive for a rookie to willfully submit themselves to a high probability of getting burned to a crisp by the best wide receiver in the NFL. But Julio says that it won’t just make Miller better. Julio can learn from it as well.
“I mean, we’re on the same team, so it’s good, and I would want to give him that work out here at practice so he can get better and I can get better,” Jones said. “We’re both going to learn at the end of the day, because I never ran routes against him and he never covered me. So it’s one of those things to just work on. It’s another part of my game I can work on.”
This reminds me of another draft pick out of Washington in his rookie season with the Falcons. Back in 2013, I used to watch first-rounder Desmond Trufant cut in line so he could go up against Roddy White or Julio Jones in one-on-one drills.
Trufant missed a chunk of his rookie offseason due to a league rule that required players on quarter systems to return to their university and finish their education. When he did show up, he was a step slow. Going up against some of the top receiving talent this league has to offer did help him get up to speed. Miller’s desire to go up against Jones when Jones is ready to practice fully should help his development.
Miller does seem to have the mentality to succeed at this level. He’s definitely one player to keep an eye on in Thursday’s preseason matchup against the Dolphins.