This post was written by Jared Quan
It was clear by the sixth round picks by the 49ers that head coach Jim Harbaugh and special teams coordinator Brad Seely were putting into place the great foundations for a seriously tough special teams. They continued this trend into the seventh round with the bruising Bruce Miller. Some experts had projected him to go in the fourth round, and he was a steal in the seventh.
During his healthy four year career at the University of Central Florida, Miller produced 208 tackles, 6 forced fumbles, 3 interceptions, 2 touchdowns, and 1 blocked kick. Of the 208 tackles 34 were sacks, and 56 were tackles for a loss. He uses his 6 foot 1 inch, 254 lb frame to punish whatever offense he is against. He has recorded 42 reps at 225 lbs, and maxed out on benching weight at 520 lbs. He will most likely serve as a back-up defensive end as he lacks the coverage skills to be an outside linebacker. The most important role he will contribute will be on the special teams. It is clear than anyone who comes across Miller on the field will remember it from the impact.
Despite Miller’s bruising strength his point of attack, speed, and lack of coverage skills are his liabilities. As he gets off the line his point of attack lacks the power to shed blockers. Although his speed is adequate to move up and down the line and make plays on the running game in college, posting a 4.85 on the 40. He will have to improve his speed to see similar success at the next level. Although the 49ers will be going after the quarterback on more blitzes, Bruce’s lack of coverage skills forces him into only one job.
Regardless of Miller’s weak points, he is a solid pick up for the 49ers. He has the right size, and frame to move between defensive end and outside linebacker, and be a force to be reckoned on special teams. With a little work in the gym, and a little extra coaching as far as speed and shedding blockers, he will be a solid contributor with the potential to be a starter in the future. He has proved his toughness by bearing out four entire seasons and through his never give up on a play work ethics. He will fit right in with the system Harbaugh and Seely are putting into place.