Can Ohio State’s Braxton Miller be a successful NFL quarterback?


For as long as I can remember there has been one question asked over and over about dual-threat quarterbacks. Can they translate their skills to the sophisticated passing offenses in the NFL?

Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller will go under the microscope at the end of his last season with the Buckeyes where his ability to make plays with his feet and his arm has made him a two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year.

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He is returning to the Buckeyes for a fifth year after missing last season due to a second shoulder surgery before the start of the season and decided against transferring for an easier road to a starting job. The question about Miller’s present now must be asked with a look toward the future and whether he can play quarterback in the NFL or if he needs to change positions to have a professional career.

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Whether or not Miller can play in the NFL as a quarterback is a nuanced discussion. There have been many players in the NFL who have had really long careers who were not very good quarterbacks. Guys like Rex Grossman and Derek Anderson have made a lot of money being a reserve who occasionally gets to start a few games and prove to people why they are back-up quarterbacks.

The problem for guys Miller is the NFL is not and never will be a place for innovation. Teams like the tried and true pro-style drop back passing game that starts under center and ends up in a boring offense. Occasionally you will see some innovation in the NFL but it generally originates from college.

Take the run and shoot offense that was popular in the 1990s with the Houston Oilers and Warren Moon. It was invented by a high school coach in Middletown, Ohio. The NFL has for the most part refused to adopt the spread offense or the zone read, a system where Miller thrives.

Miller will never be a traditional NFL quarterback because of his lack of precision passing, but if healthy, has the arm strength to push the ball downfield. His footwork is special and his ability to avoid sacks is incredible. He has intangibles that can’t be taught and players follow his lead.

If he can’t find a team that is willing to try something new and adopt an offensive scheme that will allow a guy like Miller to thrive then he will never be able to make it in the NFL as a quarterback. That is not to say he doesn’t have the skills to be a wonderful quarterback in the NFL, he truly does, and will have one more year at Ohio State to prove it.

You can’t argue with his production after 8,346 total yards of offense and 84 touchdowns to only 17 interceptions in 36 games. His biggest knock is the strength of his shoulder after two surgeries in the last 18 months, but he can answer those questions with a healthy last year in Columbus.

He needs Urban Meyer to believe in him enough to start him over J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones and if that happens I think he will be a mid-round pick in the NFL Draft and given a shot to play quarterback in the NFL

If not then a move to a wide receiver or H-Back will be required just as it was for Terrell Pryor and other dual-threat college stars who couldn’t translate their skills to the rigid NFL offenses.

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