NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a photo with Von Miller, #2 overall pick by the Denver Broncos, as he holds up a jersey on stage during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 28, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Denver Broncos Draft Pick Von Miller: 'It Was All A Surprise To Me'

Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller has been climbing up draft boards in the offseason and now is being mentioned as a potential top five pick.

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NFL Draft 2011: Von Miller On Weeping At The NFL Draft

Von Miller's conference call with the Denver media showcased the tide of emotions that had him blubbering like a baby as ESPN and NFL Network filmed it all live. The first to get the call? Not Von, but his dad.

"I saw the 303 Area Code, and I knew immediately who it was. I had flashbacks to all the homework that I've been putting in every single day since little league football...every time that people said I couldn't do it, and I had that flashback you know. I was just extremely anxious for my opportunity to go into the league and prove myself."

On what he'd been hearing during the draft process, and how things changed over the past few days:

"It was all a surprise to me. I got stuff from my agent, he told me right before Denver was going to pick me. But you know, in the draft, everyone lies. I was just extremely excited to get the opportunity."

The interview is worth a listen, as Miller also talks about playing with Elvis Dumervil and how the Broncos courted him. Miller should be a big boost to the Broncos pass rushing attack as they look to revamp their strained defense from last season.

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NFL Draft, Second Round: Who Might The Texans Be Targeting?

The 2011 NFL Draft's second round will kick off later tonight, and with J.J. Watt already on board for the Texans, they'll likely be looking for another defensive piece to fit Wade Phillips' new 3-4 scheme. Who will be the target? The first place you start might be looking for players who used to be tight ends, because this staff has an incurable disease that says they have to draft six former tight ends in every draft. After that, you might consider what Chris Watkins at Houston Diehards (hey, I know that guy!)  has to say about the situation:

Aaron Williams, CB, Texas
I'd love this pick. Williams, like Glover Quin, could be a candidate for safety. If they nab him and add a strong free agent corner as many of us expect, it could make for some interesting camp competition.

Rahim Moore, FS, UCLA
I think a lot of us are high on Moore because we're used to such awful safety play, but a lot of draft pundits are very "meh" about Moore. Me, I'd love to see him come to Houston.

Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA
I like Ayers. A lot. Not the fastest guy, but the guy can play football. I think he could be a steal.

Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State
Paea would make a hell of a NT in Wade Phillips' 3-4, but I doubt he's very high on the team's board.

Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia
Never liked talk about the Texans grabbing him in the first, but was open to him in a trade down scenario. Naturally, I'd take a hard look at him in the 2nd.

Brandon Harris, CB, Miami
I really thought Harris was destined for the first round. I'll be shocked - SHOCKED - if he makes it to 42.

Others:
Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina
Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois
Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia
Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona

I'd prefer Paea, Moore, Williams, Harris, and Ayers on that list, in roughly that order. I fully expect the Texans to take Ras-I Dowling, because as Antwaun Molden showed us, it doesn't matter how healthy you stay as long as you appear to be more talented than the rest of the field. At least, that's why I think he's still on the roster. 

I guess right now I lean more towards targeting Chris Carter in the third round and drafting secondary help for the Texans in the second. Maybe that changes as I remember that a good pass rush helps a mediocre secondary, but the Texans desperately need safeties or players that can help Glover Quin move to safety. 

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2011 NFL Draft Results: Costanzo Gives Colts Early Lead On Rest Of South

The 2011 NFL Draft kicked off last night with the quarterback run that many experts such as Rick Gosselin had expected. It didn't go quite as long as Gosselin thought it would, but when the dust settled, two AFC South teams had new franchise quarterbacks. That should be good news for the Texans, at least in the interim, and they and the Colts both did pretty well to wind up with J.J. Watt and Anthony Costanzo.

Here's how the whole first round went for the AFC South

8) Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans

Jake Locker should be a good get for the Titans. Remember, he was going to be the No. 1 overall pick last year, and his mobility will lead to greatpfffttttthahahahahahhaha. Sorry, I can't do it. I think Jake Locker was the worst quarterback in this draft and my schadenfreude is tickled to see him in Tennessee Baby Blue. Up yours, Bud Adams!

10) Blaine Gabbert, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

I'm bigger on Gabbert than I am on Locker, but I still think rumors of David Garrard's mediocrity have been over exaggerated. You can win with Garrard as your quarterback if you build a good enough team around him, and Jacksonville's defensive secondary was a nightmare last year. Gabbert is probably still a good pick all things considered, if they think he can be the new face of the franchise. But that isn't going to help them much next year.

11) J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans

While I understand this move, I would've rather seen Robert Quinn in Texans navy blue. I don't like Mario Williams standing up, because I think he has more natural explosion off the line. Wade Phillips can get creative with Watt, and I don't think he's a bad pick by any means. I just think Quinn was the best natural pass rusher in this draft after Von Miller, and I would've rather had him.

22) Anthony Costanzo, LT, Indianapolis Colts

Great pick for the Colts. I thought Costanzo was the best tackle in this draft, and one of the cleanest players overall. The Colts have had a weakness at tackle for years, and this move should be a great start towards remedying it. A+ for Polian, and the class of the division is also the class of the draft. So far.

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2011 NFL Draft: Von Miller To The Broncos Picking Up Steam

After weeks of being stuck behind Marcell Dareus in the pecking order for the No. 2 overall pick, it looks like Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller is going to be snatched up by the Broncos after all.

Rob Rang of CBSSports.com was the first to go heavily on the record about this pick:

For those who have been following my mocks for awhile, there are some surprises, beginning with the Denver Broncos using the No. 2 overall pick on Texas A&M pass rusher Von Miller.

I’ve long argued that Alabama DT Marcell Dareus should be the pick for the Broncos, despite the fact that I rate Miller as the better prospect .

Instead, the Broncos seem to be infatuated with Miller and will be taking the Butkus Award winner with the second pick.

Todd McShay, Mike Mayock, and others soon agreed. Now even The Denver Post is reporting on it:

The Broncos, though, consider improving their strongside linebacker position, pass rush and overall defensive speed a slightly greater priority than adding quality mass up front. Which could mean selecting Miller.

It doesn’t seem so at first glance, but by switching from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3, the Broncos are adding a linebacker position. The two outside linebackers in the 3-4 — Elvis Dumervil and Robert Ayers — become defensive ends in the 4-3. That leaves D.J. Williams and Mario Haggan or Joe Mays to fill the two remaining linebacker positions.

The Broncos would have sideline-to-sideline speed in such an alignment with Miller and Williams likely patrolling the outside linebacker spots. It’s not hard to imagine them doing this, although I think Dareus still makes a little more sense for them since they aren’t a 3-4 team.

Either way, it looks like there’s plenty of smoke to this fire: Von Miller easily could become a Bronco, spread the news.

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2011 NFL Draft: Von Miller Figures To Go In The First Three Picks

There will be 32 new NFL players by the time the first round of the NFL Draft is finished on Thursday. Von Miller projects to be one of the first few names called by commissioner Roger Goodell. SB Nation just came out with the latest, and final, edition of their 2011 NFL Mock Draft, and they Von Miller in what has become a pretty familiar situation for him; third overall to the Buffalo Bills.

It's possible that the Bills talk themselves into taking Blaine Gabbert at the last minute. If they don't, Miller is the front-runner, with Newton and Dareus on their radar.

There have also been some rumblings about Miller going second overall to the Denver Broncos. He might even be the target of teams trying to trade up if the Broncos are willing to trade down. No matter who is picking in those spots, Miller will in all likelihood be one of the first three names called on Thursday.

The first round of the 2011 NFL Draft starts at 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday, April 28, and SB Nation has everything you need to prepare: NFL mock drafts, draft projections, scouting reports, the full NFL draft schedule and more. Check it out at SB Nation's NFL Draft page and our NFL Draft blog, Mocking the Draft.

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2011 NFL Draft: Von Miller Could Be First Defensive Player Drafted

Von Miller has been moving very steadily up Draft boards, and may even become the first defensive player taken in the NFL Draft, according to Mike Triplett of NOLA.com.

The presumed No. 1 pick right now is Cam Newton, whom the Panthers are expected to take if they aren't successful in their efforts to trade back. After that the Broncos will have a serious decision to make with the second overall pick. Do they take Miller, or Alabama DT Marcell Dareus. They are expected to take a defensive player with their selection, but it will be up to them who will be the first off the board.

The Buffalo Bills pick third overall, and are expected to take whichever player the Broncos decide not to. At this point, it seems like Miller's basement is No. 3 to the Bills. If they appear disinterested, I can't imagine that Miller gets any further than the Arizona Cardinals at No 5 overall.

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Von Miller Visits With The Redskins

While it appears completely unlikely that Von Miller will slide to the No. 10 overall pick, meaning the trip is about as useful as a Frank Bush defensive scheme, the Redskins are bringing him in on Monday anyway. Perhaps they're thinking of trading up, or perhaps since the Washington front office is so obsessed with lawsuits, they had to make sure to reel in the only rookie in the entire draft pool to be a plaintiff in Brady vs. NFL. 

Miller continues to be projected by most pundits to the Bills with the third overall pick. If by some stroke of miracles he wound up as a Redskin (and seeing as how they pick ahead of the Texans, it would be a completely unsurprising miracle given this city's recent penchant for getting teased and ultimately devastated), he would likely team up with Brian Orakpo to create a pair of 3-4 pass rushing linebackers that is every bit as menacing as DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer are for their in-division foes.

Or, he could just go to Buffalo. I mean, that does make more sense, doesn't it?

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2011 NFL Draft: Von Miller Set To Visit The 49ers

If nothing else, Von Miller is getting a lot of frequent flyer miles during the NFL Draft process. He was in Denver last week, Cleveland and Tennessee earlier this week, and now he will be visiting with the San Fransisco 49ers according to NBC Bay Area.

Most pundits have the draft's best pass-rushing linebacker gone by the time the 49ers pick at No. 7 but that isn't stopping San Francisco from getting an up close look at Von Miller anyway.

The Texas A&M speed rusher is visiting Cleveland and Tennessee before he lands at the 49ers' Santa Clara headquarters Thursday, according to the National Football Post.

It is kind of a long shot that Miller will be available to the 49ers, but who can blame them for doing their due diligence? And Miller gets a nice little vacation in sunny Santa Clara for the trouble. We'll have more on Miller's travel plans as they evolve.

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After Visit, Buffalo Bills Now Expected To Take Von Miller

Von Miller has been making the rounds this week visiting with teams that may choose to take him in the upcoming NFL Draft. One of his recent trips was to Buffalo, and according to reports, he impressed the Bills, who hold the No. 3 overall pick in the draft.

Chris Brown of Inside The Bills Blog has some quotes from Bills coach Chan Gailey on Miller, and they certainly sound glowing.

“It’d be interesting to see if we ended up with a guy like that,” Gailey said. ”He’s a great pass rusher, so when you get to nickel situations you want to make sure he’s rushing the passer. Then you have to decide if you want to put him on the end of the line in a 3-4 or do you want to stack him behind the line even though he hasn’t had a lot of experience like that. If you can cover a guy up that has that kind of speed and quickness you can just let him run to the football. There are a couple of different ways to use a guy like that to help your defense.”

According to our Buffalo Bills blog Buffalo Rumblings, Peter King is now calling Miller the odds on favorite to be picked by the Bills in the first round. They also have a quote from GM Buddy Nix who had a very confusing comparison for Miller.

"I went out to Texas A&M early in the year and looked at Von Miller, and it's kind of like a hot horse, you know, it doesn't take long to look at it, because he's a really talented guy, and makes plays, and understands the game," Nix said. "He'll be an impact player if he stays healthy in the NFL."

Hm.

ESPN's Mel Kiper also thinks that Miller would be an excellent fit for the Browns because of how poorly former first round pick Aaron Maybin has played at the same position.

"They thought he would be that attacker off the edge," Kiper said of Maybin. "Now you've got to get that player in that 3-4 scheme. Von Miller led the nation in sacks two years ago. An ankle injury early on this year prevented that from happening [again]."

While Miller was playing for Gailey at the Senior Bowl, the possibility of playing for him and Bills came up. Miller offered the typically well-coached response you might expect.

"It would be a true blessing to go play for the Bills, but whatever team picks me up, I'll be happy to play for them," Miller said.

It's hard to know if all of this is going to come to fruition, but there certainly seems to be a lot of smoke surrounding Von Miller going to the Bills at No. 3 overall. We'll have to wait until Draft day to see if there is any fire.

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Von Miller To Be Superstar According To SackSEER Projection System

If you want another reason why it's likely that Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller is still a worthy trade-up target for the Texans, look no further than the Football Outsiders' SackSEER projection system, which has Miller as one of the best prospects that it's ever graded. SackSEER projects Miller to have 36.4 sacks by his fifth year in the league, for reference, Mario Williams has 48 sacks through his fifth year in the NFL--so while he wouldn't quite be Mario-level, he definitely would be an elite defensive player. Here's what SackSEER loves about Miller:

Miller's 4.06-second shuttle is amazing -- no edge rusher prospect has run a shuttle at the Combine that starts with a 4.0 since DeMarcus Ware.

Prospects with good size and good SackSEER projections rarely bust, and there have been plenty of players such as Aaron Maybin and Manny Lawson who end up playing down to their size despite impressive athleticism. However, some of the best edge rushers have been undersized, and often severely so. Most recently, Clay Matthews took the NFL by storm despite weighing only 240 pounds at the Combine, and Trent Cole and Robert Mathis have been outstanding despite being well south of the 240-pound mark on draft day.

Although an injury or struggles against the run could certainly derail Miller's career, Miller has the potential to become an elite player at his position.

SackSEER also aligns itself with Daniel Charles in the anti-Robert Quinn camp. And praises the Eagles for signing Phillip HuntWhere have I heard that name again?

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NFL Mock Draft: Von Miller Visiting With The Cleveland Browns

At this point in the pre-draft hoopla, Von Miller is all but a certainty to go in the top ten. Over the course of the next month or so, the top prospects will be visiting all the teams in the area they might get drafted so that the organizations can get to know them better. According to James Walker of ESPN, Miller will be visiting with the Cleveland Browns on Monday and Tuesday. Here is what ESPN mock draft guru Mel Kiper had to say about Miller.

"He led the nation in sacks two years ago and would have this year had he not had the ankle injury early on. Then you think about leverage coming off the edge. The kid gets like a motorcycle driver coming around the corner. You wonder how some of those guys can stay on the bike on motocross and this guy is the same way. He comes around that edge and I don't even know how he stays on his feet. He gets this tremendous leverage on those big tackles and they just can't handle him."

Miller would be a good fit for the Browns who need desperately need to add playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, especially along the front seven.

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NFL Mock Draft: Will Von Miller Be A Top-Five Pick?

Make sure you check out the ongoing SB Nation Writer's NFL Mock Draft.

Texas A&M's Von Miller figures to be one of the first few players drafted in the 2011 NFL Draft later this month, but is it possible that he could be among the first five players selected?

Miller burst onto the scene as a junior in 2009 when he had 43 tackled and an eye-popping 17 sacks. He started slowly in 2010, but came on very strong towards the end of the year, registering eight sacks in his final 5 games against teams like Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas. He won the Butkus award this year which is given to the Nation's best linebacker.

After the season, he was graded out as an early to mid-first round prospect, but he has shot up draft boards with strong performances in all of the postseason tests and activities. First, he opened a lot of eyes at the Senior Bowl, then he showed just how athletic he was at the Combine. His Combine measurements, from our Texas A&M Blog I Am The 12th Man:

He measured in a 6'2 5/8" and 246 pounds. He did 21 reps of 225. Miller had a 37" vertical and broad jumped 10'6" He turned in unofficial times in the 40 of 4.46 and 4.53.

That is perfectly acceptable size and incredible athleticism for his position. During the Combine, Miller went from being a mid-first round prospect to someone mentioned as the best defensive player in the entire draft.

The only question that remains for Miller is how he will adjust to playing linebacker in the NFL. In College he played defensive end with the express purpose of getting after the quarterback. He doesn't quite have the size to play DE in the NFL, so he will have to transition to outside linebacker, which means a wider range of coverage responsibilities. But he showed surprising fluidity in coverage during the Combine, and there aren't many out there who question his ability to make the transition successfully.

Let's take a look at what our NFL Draft blog Mocking the Draft had to say about Miller in an early profile.

Will enter the NFL raw in pass coverage and suspect against the run. Was mostly used at A&M as an upfield player and will start his pro career in the same role. If a team needs someone to purely get after the quarterback, that's Miller. He could be a big-time mover up draft boards, similar to (Clay) Matthews two years ago and Koa Misi in 2010.

As of right now, MTD has Miller as the No. 3 overall prospect on their big board.

Miller has been a fixture in the top five of recent Mock Drafts, frequently going as high as No. 3 to Buffalo. I think his floor is probably Arizona with the fith pick, who desperately need an outside linebacker who can get after the quarterback. Most of the teams in the top-ten could use a player like Miller, but the teams that have the biggest need there are probably the Bills, Cardinals, Browns and Redskins.

We'll be covering Von Miller as the draft approaches and where he might get picked. For more on the Draft check out Mocking the Draft and SB Nation. For more on the Aggies, head over to I Am The 12th Man.

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