The Chicago Bears showed their commitment to overhauling and upgrading the wide receiver room this offseason, by mortgaging a small part of the future to get a pass-catcher they clearly liked more than others.
In a video shared on the Bears’ YouTube channel, radio play-by-play voice Jeff Joniak talks to area scout Breck Ackley, who offers up some insight on Anthony Miller. Without the benefit of having a third-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, GM Ryan Pace needed to get creative to land Miller. And he did just that when he sent the first of the Bears’ 2018 fourth-round picks and a the team’s second-round selection in 2019 to the New England Patriots for the 51st overall selection.
So what inspired this roll of the dice? Two words seem to pop up every time Miller comes up in conversation.
“Mentality and makeup,” Ackley said when describing what Miller is all about. “A guy that wants the ball and I think at that position, that’s key. And he’s not going to shy away from anything you ask. This guy asked to play on kickoff team and he ran down on kickoffs for them this year and he was a 1,500-yard receiver. That tells you all you need to know. The toughness aspect and the competitive mentality stands out.”
Miler is a tough cookie, no doubt. He is a grinder who climbed the depth chart from a walk-on at Memphis, to a role as a starter, to the team’s leading receiver, to a Consensus All-American, and finally culminating in a second-round pick in the NFL Draft.
No wonder the Bears insisted on moving back into the second round when the team wasn’t going to have another pick until Day 3 rolled around.
The Antonio Brown comps are a best-case scenario, but there are some similarities. Ackley notes how both receivers play with chips on their shoulders, bring the fire, and play faster than their timed speed. Like Brown, Miller showed the ability to be a dynamic special teams member in the punt return game. Even though the Bears have a pretty good punt returner in Tarik Cohen, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Miller get some reps at the position.
As for his fit, Ackley believes Miller might be better off on the inside, but confirms the player’s versatility and noted that Memphis used him inside and out. The positional flexibility showed itself in the different types of routes Miller was asked to run for the Tigers in their up-tempo spread attack. It sounds like the Bears are pretty confidence that Miller can do whatever is asked of him, which makes him quite the fit in Matt Nagy’s offense.
“When Coach Nagy was describing to us the type of receivers they want, and the versatility, this is the guy that comes to mind,” Ackley explained. “And this is a guy that makes us better.”
Miller seems to be the type of player who plays with an edge and a chip on his shoulder and won’t let you forget about it when you’re on the gridiron. It’s clearly what fuels his play and makes him great. Having that kind of energy and motor will suit him well at the next level.
For more on what Ackley’s insight on what Miller brings to the Bears, you can check out the video below in its entirety: