Having looked at each of the Jets’ draft picks in detail, we’ve now moved on to discuss each of their undrafted free agent signings. We continue today with a breakdown of UCF offensive lineman Wyatt Miller.
The 24-year old is listed at 6’4” and 306 pounds and was a two-time AAC second-teamer. He started 47 games in his four year career, including all 39 games in his final three seasons. That included a 25-game winning streak.
Miller was a three-star recruit out of Coffee High School in Douglas, Georgia (which may be what attracted him to Mike Maccagnan in the first place).
He was recruited to UCF, where he redshirted his first season. He started eight games the following year before becoming a full-time starter over his last three seasons.
In each of his final two seasons, Miller was named to the AAC second team. UCF won every game in those two years, apart from their bowl game against LSU in January, which they lost 40-32 without their starting quarterback.
Miller wasn’t invited to the scouting combine or any of the main all-star games, but drew some interest at his pro day. However, he wasn’t widely expected to be drafted.
The Jets signed Miller as an undrafted free agent after he went unselected in the draft last month.
Now let’s take a look at what Miller brings to the table, divided into categories.
Miller has good size and length, but has been projected as an interior lineman at the next level due to his lack of athletic ability.
At his pro day, his 40 yard dash (5.37) and three-cone drill were poor, although his short shuttle was acceptable. He displayed average explosiveness and his bench press was disappointing with just 14 reps.
As noted, Miller is expected to move inside at the next level. However, he played exclusively at the tackle position in college. He started at right tackle for his first three seasons before moving to left tackle as a redshirt senior.
At his pro day, Miller reportedly showcased some snapping and pulling, displaying a willingness to potentially move to the center position at the next level.
In high school, Miller also played some tight end, although he only caught one pass. He played as a jumbo tight end in certain short yardage packages with UCF.
Miller’s pass protection numbers were good in his senior season, as he managed to go the entire regular season without giving up a sack, although he did surrender one in the team’s bowl game.
However, he got plenty of help and benefited from the fact that UCF has an athletic quarterback who can elude pressure. He had given up seven sacks in the previous two years at right tackle.
When left on an island, Miller can have some struggles, as he’s a little heavy-footed to mirror edge rushers effectively. That’s part of the reason he might be better inside.
If he does move inside he’ll need to work on his base as he can be knocked off balance. However, he’s better equipped to re-anchor than he is to recover when losing leverage.
UCF had some good success in the running game, breaking their single-season rushing record in 2018 with Miller a big part of that. They would often run behind him, as they did on this trap play.
Miller is less effective at holding his ground at the point of attack. He was often stood up and you would rarely see drive his man back at the snap. However, on this play, he was able to take his man out of the play laterally.
Miller can work effectively in combination with his other linemates on combo blocks, which is something he’ll need to do more often if he moves inside. On this play, he double teams initially on the defensive tackle before peeling off to pick up a linebacker.
He shows some ability to locate and connect with a target on the move on this pulling block from the right side.
Miller’s technique needs some refining, although an improvement in his functional strength will also go a long way towards improving his balance and base.
As he’s getting back into his stance his inconsistent footwork can create issues with his base sometimes being to wide and sometimes being too narrow. Pass rushers can exploit his narrow base on the bull rush and his wide base with quickness as on this inside move that renders him unable to recover.
Another issue is how he uses his hands in pass protection. He has good length but doesn’t really make full use of it and some of his hand strikes are weak or poorly placed.
In space he generally approaches his target with good angles and can reset his feet to seal off a defender. However, he will also lunge after his target at times, which will make him susceptible to falling off the block.
Miller only had seven penalties in his first three years, but after moving to left tackle in his redshirt senior year, he matched that total in one season. All six of his accepted penalties were actually false starts, perhaps caused by him being too eager to get into his stance as he was concerned about speed rushers off the edge. He had one other penalty for a hold that was declined anyway.
Miller did not play on special teams in college, but would probably be expected to at least line up and block for the field goal unit in the pros.
Miller is intelligent, as he was twice voted to the conference all-Academic team. He also has a good football IQ and doesn’t seem to make many mental errors, apart from the false starts mentioned earlier.
On this play, he shows an ability to transition seamlessly from one assignment to another in pass protection.
Miller is a player with a good work ethic who developed into a leader over the past few seasons. He reportedly became more vocal as he moved into that leadership role.
On the field, he works hard and battles to the whistle but doesn’t necessarily flash signs of aggressiveness and nastiness as much as you’ll see from some other offensive line prospects.
He show some good hustle on this play, almost scoring a touchdown.
Miller didn’t miss any starts over the last three years, although he was knocked out of a couple of games early on, including a leg injury against FAU last year. He showed good toughness by starting the following week’s game each time.
Miller will, as noted, probably be working on the inside with the Jets. However, he might need to work on his athleticism if he’s going to excel in Frank Pollack’s zone-based scheme.
Miller, like the other offensive linemen brought in as undrafted free agents this year, has a lot to work on to be able to compete at the NFL level, so it is probably unrealistic to expect him to contribute until next season at the absolute earliest.
The fact he might be able to transition to center will entice some fans, but by the time he’s ready to play there, the team likely will have addressed that spot anyway.
Miller needs to work on his strength, technique and foot speed, but does have some desirable traits that will give the Jets’ coaching staff some hope they can turn him into a worthwhile interior line project.