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Braxton Miller: 5 things to know about the Eagles’ new practice squad addition

The former Buckeye QB has all the traits to be a successful wide receiver for Philadelphia.

NFL: Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles have already made several roster moves since “finalizing” their 53-man roster and filling their 10-man practice squad, and on Saturday, we learned the team is reportedly adding wide receiver Braxton Miller to the PS pending a physical.

Miller is a former third-round draft pick out of Ohio State, and after two seasons with the Houston Texans, was released just ahead of the regular season. The wideout was a quarterback in college, and while he always had the athleticism to play a skill position, he wasn’t forced into the move until suffering a shoulder injury in 2014.

Following his injury, he made the move to an h-back position for the Buckeyes, and was often used in wildcat formations when he returned to the field in 2015. He didn’t put up a ton of crazy stats that season, but with a few highlight-worthy plays, his potential was obvious.

Miller didn’t have the best situation when he was drafted by Houston, especially as a young player at his position. With quarterback controversies and poor play stifling the Texans offense the past couple years, the receiver wasn’t able develop into the playmaker he should be. A number of injuries and setbacks also affected his production in Texas, but he’s healthy and ready to get back to work.

So what should you know about the receiver heading into his third season?

1.He’s quick and agile

Miller was far too talented to call it a career after his shoulder injury, and he showed off some of his agility and quick feet during the 2016 NFL Combine. He ran a 4.50 second 40-yard dash, and was a top performer in the 3-cone drill (6.65 sec), 20-yard shuttle (4.07 sec), and 60-yard dash (10.84).

One NFC executive at the combine said of Miller, “He’s going to go by at least the third round because of his speed and athleticism. He’s got some traits that will get him drafted early and a team will worry about coaching him up after they get him in.”

The problem, was that Miller ended up being drafted by the Texans and lacked the sort of veteran position group and top-tier position coaching that he will have with the Eagles. Being able to train alongside Mike Wallace and Alshon Jeffery should go a long way in finally helping Miller take the next step in his development.

2. After-the-catch yardage

Miller rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2012 and 2013 when he was still a quarterback for the Buckeyes, and while he doesn’t quite have the size to be a running back in the NFL, he does have the elusiveness to make defenders miss in the open field and take it to the house.

In his rookie season with Houston, Miller suited up for 10 games and nabbed 15 receptions. Of the 99 receiving yards in 2016, 49 of those were after the catch, and then again in 2017, 71 of his 162 receiving yards came after catch.

He’s the kind of player that is super fun to watch because anything can happen once he gets the ball in his hands.

3. He’s got some special teams experience

I don’t think Miller’s big contribution will be on special teams, but he’s shown that he is capable of contributing on punt and kick returns. He fielded three kickoffs his rookie season for 41 yards, and a 17-yard long run, and three punt returns in 2017 for 12 yards and five fair catches.

4. Special play contributions

With his quarterback experience, he would also be the perfect player to help the offense when Doug Pederson calls fun plays like the Philly Special and Philly Philly. Not that Nelson Agholor’s throw in Week 1 wasn’t effective, but it doesn’t hurt having someone with a proven history making plays like that in the Eagles’ arsenal.

5. Can read a defense

Miller wasn’t just a college quarterback, he was a great college quarterback. He essentially served as Ohio State’s starting QB and a running back during his sophomore season, claiming 3,310 total offensive yards that year.

All of this is to say that he has a unique perspective when reading defenses. He’s able to see the field, identify running lanes, and is a real monster in the open field. At 6’1, 215 pounds, he’s got the size to win contested catches, and just needs to work on sharpening up his route running.

With a different view of a defense, and his ability to read defenses and maximize his yards after catch, Braxton Miller has a very ceiling that he hasn’t even come close to reaching yet.

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