Despite rushing for 2,168 yards and 29 touchdowns as a senior in Peoria, Arizona (1,679 yards, 38 touchdowns in his junior year), Miles’ lack of size prevented him from being one of the country’s top running back recruits. Arizona State saw his potential as a return specialist and slot receiver, however, keeping his playmaking skills in the Phoenix metro area and showing NFL scouts how he could be a factor at the next level.
He took over kick return duties halfway through his true freshman year (611 yards) while also getting a few receiving chances (6 for 58 yards). Miles returned fewer kicks in 2010 (three for 118 yards, including a 99-yard TD) but garnered honorable mention All-Pac 10 honors for his work as a punt returner (29 for 248 yards) and became a regular contributor as an inside receiver (seven starts, 25-203, four TD). His game took another step forward in 2011, as he earned second-team all-conference accolades for his excellent return work (16.6 yard average, TD on punts: 26.2 yard average, two TD on kickoffs) and was also used more frequently in the slot (60-361, six TD). He did miss the MAACO Bowl, however, due to “personal reasons.”
Miles’ game is pure speed and quickness. From the slot, his shake off the line whether moving to his left or right frees himself from most college defenders stepping up. On quick screens, he can get to the sideline if catching the ball inside the hash, elude tacklers with a quick cut or stop-start move, and even run through some arm tackles as he does have some strength in his lower half. Works the middle of the field when not limited to a screen role, grabbing low, high and wide passes, even if challenged. Elusiveness comes into play as returner, especially on punts. Snatches the ball, sometimes over his shoulder on booming punts, makes a man miss (or split two gunners), and then get himself up a crease in a hurry. Displays some patience waiting for a lane to open up on kickoff returns before he turns on the second gear. His ability to set up a defender 10 yards away before cutting to explode in either direction helps him on both return duties.
More physical NFL cornerbacks will have an advantage over Miles in the slot, and he won’t lower his pads to power his way through tacklers at the next level. His upper-body strength is also an issue when going through traffic after the catch and on returns (four fumbles in 2011), and pro tacklers will rip the ball out whenever they can actually catch him.
Though Miles hasn’t been a prolific receiver for ASU (361 yards, six TD in 2011), he earned second-team All-Pac 12 honors in 2011 due to his work as a returner (16.6 yard average, TD on punts: 26.2 yard average, two TD on kickoffs). His pure acceleration with the ball in his hands and open-field elusiveness makes him a prototypical slot/return prospect worth taking in the top half of the draft.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.