Who is this guy?
Never heard of wide receiver Scott Miller from Bowling Green? Neither had a lot of NFL teams until this spring. Bowling Green is in the MAC conference and entering the 2018 season, didn’t have a rated prospect by any of the major publications. It meant Miller, who the Bucs ended up drafting in the sixth round, almost-literally flew under the radar (with his speed) until a scout for the Bucs discovered him. General Manager Jason Licht tells the story in the next section but looking back at how productive Miller was, albeit at a smaller program, it’s still a wonder more people didn’t catch on sooner.
Not only was Miller productive to the tune of 1,148 yards receiving with nine touchdowns last season, he made big-time plays against big-time opponents. The Falcons traveled to Eugene last season to take on the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium, an extremely hostile place to play. Miller tallied 166 yards and two touchdowns that game. Against Georgia Tech, he racked up 117 yards. His best game last season came against Western Michigan, where he caught eight passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns, including a season-long 76-yarder.
His career stats at Bowling Green add up to 2,867 yards on 215 receptions with 25 touchdowns. Known for his speed, Miller clocked what General Manager Jason Licht said was a 4.30 40-yard dash at his pro day. Though he’s a smaller receiver, likely contributing to his MAC status, Miller said before his pro day he packed on another 10 pounds to his previous 5-11, 166-pound frame, and it didn’t slow him down a bit.
What are they saying about him?
Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht:
“Yeah, so Scotty. Our scouts did a great job with him. Bowling Green didn’t have a rated prospect going into the season by any publication so when you go into a school that doesn’t, you try to find a sleeper. Scouts weren’t going through Bowling Green because of that. We did. I know some other teams did. We see a productive guy who we know is really fast, so you try to keep him under the radar as long as you can. We were in contact with him quite often during the spring here, making sure nobody else has talked to him. When we found out a couple teams did, and brought him in, we went there and had a private workout. Our receivers coach went and spent time with him. We just felt very comfortable in going ahead and drafting him in the sixth round. He’s very fast. To say he’s [former Buccaneers slot receiver] Adam Humphries, it’s tough to do that right now. He’s got to fight to make the team. He’s different. He’s not as thick, he’s not as big, he’s more of a speed guy. In fact, he’s very, very fast. I think he’s one of the faster guys in the draft. It’s going to be fun to have him out here and see what he can do.”
Buccaneers wide receivers coach Kevin Garver:
“I’m excited about Scotty. The one thing that jumps out is his speed. We saw that on film. I had a chance to meet with him in the pre-draft meetings and stuff. We were very intrigued by him. In fact, it was one of our scouts that found him initially. He wasn’t on any of my initial lists or anything so there was a lot of excitement about him that came down and checking this guy out. It was kind of a buzz around the office. I went up there and spent some time with him and really had a chance to get to know him. I went to the pro day and got to see him work out there. You know, it’s going to be a curve. There is going to be a learning curve for him. He’s a rookie, every one of those guys is going to have a learning curve to them. But I like that he’s himself. When we met, he was himself. He’s got a little bit of swag to him. I think if you guys go and watch the film and stuff, you’ll see some of those things. If you get a chance to see the pro day, he’s got the headband on and stuff. We want guys to be themselves. We want guys to have personality and be able to go out there and make plays and I think that’s something he’s going to be able to do. It’s going to be about his approach to the game; his ability to play fast and really react on the field to what’s happening.”
What can this guy do?
By now, you realize that Miller’s calling card is his speed, but sometimes a fast 40-time doesn’t translate to the field. This is not one of those times. Watching highlights of Miller it seems sometimes that he’s waiting on the ball to catch up with him. That’s the only time he slows down. He flat out beats defenders and can get behind speedy safeties so easily, it doesn’t seem fair.
Check out the 1:47 mark in the above. He gets behind three guys, makes the catch and then just takes off. The over-the-middle seam route seems to be one of his favorites. If he gets any room to run, he takes full advantage. He can beat you down the sideline with his ball-tracking ability, too, though.
Not only does he have the home run speed, he’s got quick acceleration and a wicked double-move to carve out a target in red-zone situations, too. Check out the two plays at the 2:18 mark above. The first is a little fake to one side then a quick cut and easy touchdown near the goal line. The second, he completely fools the defender with hesitations in both directions before he takes off inside.
Then there’s his pro day, where he said he was aiming for a 40-time of 4.28-4.35. What?
How can he fit in?
Okay, so Jason Licht said above you can’t call him Adam Humphries. And yes, we need to let the ghost of the former Bucs’ slot receiver go and be free in Nashville. Though Miller seems most suited for the slot from his experience in college, therefore playing a very similar role as Hump did, I’m pretty sure Miller is faster. It opens up the door for him to be a different type of player that can stretch the field more than Humphries did. He’ll have competition for that fourth receiver spot, though. The Bucs brought in Breshad Perriman for those exact speed purposes in free agency. They still have Penn-product Justin Watson, who they drafted last year, that could work in the slot. There’s ‘X’ receiver Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, who Arians has already said can do it all. But Miller provides more competition for one of the Bucs’ strongest units and can bring that speeding bullet skillset to Tampa Bay should he make it through training camp.