Braxton Miller is arguably one of the most intriguing athletes chosen in the 2016 NFL Draft. He was selected in the third round by the Houston Texans as a receiver after having played the position for just a single season for The Ohio State University. He began his Buckeyes career as a quarterback.
And he excelled at the WR position. The 6-foot-1 Miller didn’t post jaw-dropping stats, but he made highlight-reel worthy plays that convinced Texans staff to make the investment in a player who only had a year’s experience at the position he was drafted to play.
His immense athleticism would indicate that he is likely to succeed in the NFL, and he may even surpass expectations. But will his inexperience at the position come back to haunt him?
During the off-season, Texans head strength coach Craig Fitzgerald is building Miller’s strength and conditioning to help him make a successful transition to the receiver position at the NFL level. We had the opportunity to watch Miller and other Texans rookies go through a full workout, and we caught up with Miller afterwards to find out more about his experience as an NFL rookie. Here’s what we learned.
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He was excited to be drafted by the Texans
“It’s been a good experience, you know it’s a good environment, I love being out here. I’m glad I got drafted here and it’s one of the places I really wanted to come to.”
He feels a bit like the new kid
“I feel like I’m a freshman again. That’s a big adjustment being the first year here, getting adjusted and trying to figure out everything about the Houston area, the Houston Texans and everything. It’s a transition but you get over it.”
Learning the playbook has been his biggest challenge
“That’s one of the main things that’s very important. You want to play on the field at an early time. But you gotta get in that playbook and understand the concepts and everything.”
He’s leaning on the veterans to guide him through the process
“Just watching the older guys and understanding how they take care of their body. How they take time and do extra things to help maintain the strength and conditioning stuff for the body. And you know if you don’t have to use energy, don’t use it. Take a knee when you’re out on the field, get water as much as possible and just chill out as much as possible.”
He made some ridiculous plays in college that are sure to keep NFL defensive backs on alert
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And he broke some ankles at the Senior Bowl
He credits these moves to his agility
“Sometimes I don’t understand how I do that on the field. But once I get on the field, it’s a different creature. You know I would say my agility, the way my instincts are, the way I can make people miss, my speed. The way I can accelerate through the holes and all type of things. You know, just bring a lot of aspects to the game.”
He’s learning constantly from the coaching staff and WR vets
“Oh man, I learn every day. You know especially coming here with Coach O’Brien and George Godsey. That’s the engineering mind of offense, and I’m very proud and very blessed to be a part of this coaching staff.”
And he’s picking up tips from DeAndre Hopkins
“You know just watching D-Hop practice, how he goes about his business . . . that’s good for me too, just to learn from a vet that’s been doing it for years.
“Don’t get too much in your route. You can’t give the DB any type of movement during your route or he might break on a ball, might get an interception. You know you’re not going to catch it, first of all. But just make sure that you’re on point every time you run a route, make sure all the routes look the same.”
He thinks his experience as a QB will help him
“The main thing is get separation and get open . . . So it’ll be easier for the quarterback to throw if you’re open, to get you the ball easier. If you’re getting guarded the whole time, he’s not going to trust you . . . When he hits his third step, you gotta get in the right spot at the exact time.”
He crushed a tough workout with the Texans rookies
“It was a tough one, it was a tough one. Coach Fitz put us through a hard one today, and that’s what you need to get prepared for the summer workouts, summer camp and all type of stuff that’s coming up on schedule.
“I’d say it’s the last 15 minutes . . . I think it was getting on the treadmill for 30 seconds at the incline of 15. That’s probably the toughest. Your legs are dead through the whole workout. We had legs today and then at the end of the workout, we had a run up the hill. That’s probably the toughest one today.”
Fitzgerald had positive things to say about Miller’s future with the Texans
“Braxton Miller is a terrific athlete. He’s a hard guy to bring down because he’s big and fast and really quick in short spaces. We can see that in the weight room. I think everyone is going to see it on the field coming up.
“Being a talented athlete, he played a lot of positions in college . . . QB, receiver. Now he’s focusing on being a receiver and there’s a lot of routes. In college, maybe he did a little quarterback at practice, a little receiver. Now it’s all receiver. So we are building those legs up and I think the best way to do that is actually practicing. I think he’s there. He had great OTAs, and from my point of view he was able to compete at every practice. That says a lot.”
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