In the 2015 NFL Draft, the first two players that the Buffalo Bills selected went on to start in their rookie year. One of those players, cornerback Ronald Darby, has since been traded to the Philadelphia Eagles; however, the second of those players remains on Buffalo’s roster. After struggling as a rookie, he evened out during his second season before losing his starting gig four games into the 2017 season.
In the latest installment of our “90 players in 90 days” series, we look at an offensive guard looking to reclaim a starting spot in the wake of multiple departures along the interior offensive line.
Name: John Miller
Height/Weight: 6’3” 315 lbs.
Draft: Selected in the third round (number 81 overall) by the Buffalo Bills in the 2015 NFL Draft
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Miller enters the fourth year of his rookie contract, worth a total of $2,960,120. In 2018, Miller carries a cap hit of $2,077,030.
2017 Recap: 2017 was not a banner year for the Bills’ guard. He entered the year as a starter, having edged out newcomer Vlad Ducasse for the starting right guard job that he had held since the Bills drafted him in 2015. After four games, Miller was replaced in the starting lineup by Ducasse. During those four games, Miller was called for 3 penalties (for comparison’s sake, Ducasse was whistled for one penalty throughout the rest of the season). Miller received a 39.1 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, which was obviously an abysmal number.
Positional outlook: After the sudden retirement/unretirement/release/arrest of left guard Richie Incognito, the Bills have a need for a guard to step up in his place. Miller will battle Ducasse, Ryan Groy, and Wyatt Teller for the right to start again. With Groy also battling for the center job, Miller does not have a ton of competition standing in his way.
2018 Offseason: Miller went back to the drawing board this offseason, and this excellent profile from WKBW’s Joe Buscaglia gives a look into the fourth-year player’s mindset as he enters a make-or-break year. Miller has lined up with the first team offense at right guard during OTAs, which bodes well for his future in Buffalo.
2018 season outlook: With a change back to a power-based scheme with new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, Miller has a chance to regain his 2016 form, where he was one of the most improved players in the NFL. If the Bills line Miller up at right guard and move Ducasse to the left, it wouldn’t surprise me at all. Either way, it seems that the Louisville product is poised to have a big bounce-back year in 2018.