Oakland Raiders’ 2012 NFL Draft Wish List No. 12: DE Julian Miller

There are only a few days left before the 2012 NFL Draft, and it’s time for me to roll out the last edition of my 2012 NFL Draft Wish List for the Oakland Raiders.

The Raiders have done a great job since the offseason began, doing everything they can to fill the holes by signing proven veterans at a cheap price.  To replace Chris Johnson and Stanford Routt, the Raiders signed Ron Bartell, Shawntae Spencer and Patrick Lee.  

When the Raiders released Kamerion Wimbley, two new holes opened up.  By cutting Wimbley, the Raiders not only lost an outside linebacker, but their best pass rusher.  

Reggie McKenzie went out and signed Philip Wheeler to play outside linebacker, but he is limited as a pass rusher.  In his career with the Indianapolis Colts, Wheeler got to the quarterback twice.

That isn’t going to fly in Dennis Allen’s defense.  At Denver, Allen looked over a team that recorded the 10th-most sacks at 41.  

The Raiders’ front four is a very talented group of players who can get to the quarterback alone, but that doesn’t cut it.  The Raiders are going to have to add more pass rushers in 2012.

I went and looked for a pass rusher who would be a nice fit for the Raiders.  I looked for a player projected to go in the middle-to-late rounds.  This means that they are not as polished and will be situational pass rushers.  At last, I found my guy. 

West Virginia’s defense has a number of players who will be drafted come April 26th.  Bruce Irvin is the name most are comfortable with.  He is a great player, but reminds me a lot of Kamerion Wimbley.  He is a good pass rusher, but can get really lost in traffic when it comes to the run game.

Defensive lineman Julian Miller is a player who is strong against both the pass and the run.  

For most of Miller’s career, he lined up at defensive end.  In 2011, the West Virginia coaching staff moved him all over, having him play at defensive tackle and nose tackle in some situations.  Clearly, they are confident in his ability to play against the run if they would do such a thing.

Miller did not disappoint when he moved.  In 2011, West Virginia was 55th in running defense.  That is not great by any means, but opposing ball carriers averaged less than four yards a carry—which is impressive. 

From a pass rushing standpoint, Miller’s stats took a slight hit.  After getting to the quarterback 19 times combined in 2009 and 2010, Miller recorded seven sacks in 2011.  Keep in mind, he was playing primarily at defensive tackle.

Playing for West Virginia, Miller has had quite a career.  According to this video, Miller is number three on West Virginia’s career sack list with 29.5.  He is also listed at number four in tackles for losses with 48.5 tackles. 

Miller seriously reminds me of San Francisco’s Aldon Smith.  Smith is more athletic than Miller, playing linebacker as a pro, but Miller is no potato either.  Both have great skills, but Miller has flown under the radar for some reason.  The Raiders could draft Miller and use him as a situational player like the 49ers did. 

Miller is not projected to go until the later rounds and will be a steal wherever he goes.  The only problem with Miller is that he is not an immediate fit with the Raiders.  

At defensive end, the Raiders have LaMarr Houston and Matt Shaughnessy.  At defensive tackle, Richard Seymour is paired up with Tommy Kelly.  However, Seymour and Kelly are getting older and will need to rest every once in a while.  

Enter Julian Miller and opposing offenses will hardly notice a difference! 

Read more Oakland Raiders news on BleacherReport.com

About the Author