Von Miller isn’t satisfied with simply being the best defensive player in the NFL.
The 28-year-old Denver Broncos linebacker would like to make a bigger impact on special teams. More specifically, he wants to return punts.
It’s possible that Miller is just having some fun during the early days of training camp, but let’s assume for a moment that he legitimately wants to give this a shot.
Miller is not your typical linebacker. Though he measures in at 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, Miller moves like an elite wide receiver.
At the 2011 NFL Combine, Miller recorded a 4.53 40-Yard Dash, a 6.70 3-Cone Drill, a 4.06 20-Yard Shuttle and an 126-inch Broad Jump.
Now, let’s compare Miller’s measurables to an established NFL punt returner. Jamison Crowder had 328 punt return yards last season (third-most in the NFL) while averaging 12.15 yards per return (fourth-best in the NFL).
At the 2015 NFL Combine, Crowder recorded a 4.56 40-Yard Dash, a 7.17 3-Cone Drill, a 4.32 20-Yard Shuttle and an 115-inch Broad Jump. Crowder is listed at 5-foot-9, 177 pounds.
So despite being significantly larger than Crowder, Miller’s measurables are clearly superior. There’s no doubt that Miller is fast and agile enough to be a threat with the ball in his hands. But projections and production in the NFL are two very different things.
For what it’s worth, Miller has lobbied Broncos coaches to use him on offense in the past. “I’m biased about it, but like I really do think that it could happen. I’m fast. I can jump. I can catch,” Miller told Sports Illustrated in 2016.