Elijah Mitchell in 2021, Dameon Pierce in 2022, and now Kendre Miller in 2023.
Like Mitchell and Pierce before him, Miller is the undervalued, high-upside running back I have planted my flag on.
Miller took over the starting role at TCU in 2022 and immediately looked like a dynamo. He toted the rock 224 times for nearly 1,400 yards and 17 touchdowns. At first glance, it doesn’t look like Miller landed in too sexy of a spot. Drafted in the third round to the New Orleans Saints, Miller landed in a bit of a crowded room alongside (potentially) Alvin Kamara and Jamaal Williams.
Miller, who averaged 6.7 YPC in college, is a strong, hard-to-bring-down bruiser who doesn’t shy away from contact. However, he is far from your stereotypical plodder. His 5’11” 215 lb. frame allows him to thrive through contact but he also displays strong lateral agility, which allows him to glide through the crowd at the line of scrimmage.
In college, he posted an elite 119.9 elusive rating and also produced an elite 3.64 YAC/att. A knee injury he sustained in the College Football Playoff against Michigan held Miller out of testing and has kept him lower on draft boards than he needs to be.
Still, on tape, Miller displayed good vision, strong contact balance, and more than enough speed to be able to rip off chunk yardage and take runs to the house. In fact, in 2022, he ranked tied for 18th in college football with 21 carries of 15-plus yards and was tied for 21st with 70 missed tackles forced.
“It all goes back to height, weight and speed. Loved his running style. He’s a down-hill runner, runs with great pad level. He’s got explosive breakaway speed in the open field. He’s creative. He makes people miss … And we just felt like, man, this is too good to be true,” Saints assistant GM Jeff Ireland said about Miller.
Head coach Dennis Allen was quick to heap his praises on Miller as well.
“I like the player, I like his downhill running style,” Coach Dennis Allen said. “I think he’s got really good feet, I think he’s got really good contact balance. And he’s got the speed to take it the distance if he breaks free in the open field, so there’s a lot of qualities about him that I like.
Of course Miller, not lacking confidence, is already talking the talk.
“How they use [ Kamara] is kind of unique, and watching film every day, we watch a bunch of clips of him,” Miller said, via the team’s website. “How they use him in the pass game, that’s pretty cool. I feel like I can step in and pretty much do the same thing.”
While he continues to recover from a meniscus injury, Miller has yet to have the chance to walk the walk. With Kamara potentially facing a lofty suspension due to off-field concerns and the 28-year-old Williams teetering on the RB age cliff, Miller will have an opportunity to produce early and often.
He is currently the 17th-ranked rookie in dynasty and the RB6 overall, according to FantasyPros. The Wolf is lower on the TCU product, ranking him 20th overall and RB5 on his Dynasty Rookie Rankings.