Cornerback Harlan Miller from Southeastern Louisiana (Robert Alford’s alma mater) is listed at 6’1, 180 pounds. He carried his size rather nicely but could stand to add more weight to his frame. Miller was a two-year starter in Southeastern Louisiana’s secondary and started over 19 games despite having an shoulder injury that held him for three games in the beginning of the season.
Miller is a outstanding athlete but his biggest attribute is his ability to understand on-field situations and handle different assessments throughout each game. Throughout many games, Miller was given the task of tracking team’s best receiver and has won many of those battles by simply processing the game better than his opponent.
Harlan has an great trait of quickly processing plays, showing his intelligence not only on the field but also off it in the film room. Many players with great size and athletic ability don’t necessarily understand how to translate their physical abilities onto the field. As for Miller, he understands when to physical at the line of scrimmage. He adjusts to change well throughout a game and will change amount of space he gives a receiver depending on how he performed.
In 2015, Miller recorded 49 tackles (5.5 for loss), 10 passes broken up, and 4 interceptions. He held opposing quarterbacks to a 61 percent completion percentage and only gave up 276 yards on 28 catches and two touchdowns when locked man to man throughout the season.
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Harlan has great hip movement when defending routes and doesn’t loses his balance when lunging in press coverage, something he looks very comfortable doing. He’s a scrappy player at the line of scrimmage despite having a wire body. Since he has the task of following a team’s best wide out, Miller looks comfortable enough to step inside as a nickel corner but his true spot may be outside.
Watching Harlan, you’ll quickly learn that he has that “alpha dog” title and is a high volume player with an aggressive attitude. In many games, he sets the tone in the beginning of the game and a leader amongst his peers. He fits the Comrade filter by never being involved in any off-field situations and a captain during the 2015-2016 season.
Now, there are some who think that Miller only graded out so highly because of the talent he played against but some quiet down after he had a great week at the Shrine Bowl. Though he is an aggressive defender, Miller tends to miss open-field tackles. This is fault to inability to break down and try to make a clean tackle instead going for the big hit. At times, he’ll grab onto receivers a little too long while in coverage and sometimes depend on his athleticism too much and gets caught in short yard coverage.
I do feel that if the Atlanta Falcons were to take a chance on Miller, it’ll be with their fourth round pick in this year’s draft. Philip Adams and Akeem King aren’t solid depth players that the team should depend on in the future. If General manager Thomas Dimitroff is truly committed to improving the defense then he has to begin building quality players on both sides of the ball.
Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, and Jalen Collins are the building blocks at the corner position but there has to be an insurance if one of them was to get hurt or a situation demands more than three corners. If these are all the cases then Harlan Miller should be a guy that the Atlanta Falcons look heavily into.