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Davis: OSU's Braxton Miller could be first-rounder with 4.3 40

Braxton Miller has shown scouts he can play wide receiver.

But the former Ohio State star's next step is to show them just how fast he is, and whether or not he is chosen in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft could depend on it.

NFL Media analyst Charles Davis was among many to endorse Miller's performance last week at the Reese's Senior Bowl, but told The College Draft podcast with Ross Tucker that real first-round consideration could call for Miller to meet his own expectations for the 40-yard dash at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine in three weeks.

"If a guy has a big (Senior Bowl) week like that, people who watch our coverage or assess from different people covering it (think) 'Whoa, he's a first-rounder.' I don't know that he's there yet," Davis said. "We'll have to see what he runs, flat-out straight-ahead speed (at the combine). I think he's announced to the world he expects to run around 4.3. So if he does that, he could be, but remember he's a one-year receiver and not exactly polished by any stretch. But I think the potential is there for him to be absolutely excellent."

Miller publicly set his goal at a 4.28, noting that he has run a 4.36 at 215 pounds despite poor eating habits (he weighed 204 at the Senior Bowl). Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer has set his prediction for Miller's 40 time at a little more manageable mark.

Miller was the Big Ten Player of the Year for two seasons as a quarterback, and transitioned to wide receiver for his senior season in part due to an injury to his throwing shoulder. But the OSU passing game was unable to exploit Miller's explosiveness often, and he finished the year with just 340 receiving yards. A panel of NFL scouts selected Miller as the top player from Senior Bowl practices, and Davis was impressed, as well.

"When you watched him go through drills, he went through everything with a real purpose. I saw incredible foot quickness, ability to change direction. I saw better hands than maybe people might think after being a quarterback for so long -- being able to hands-catch everything -- he ran routes in one-on-ones very physically," Davis said.

There is little question Miller is improving his standing among NFL evaluators.

But there's also little question that for Miller, as much as any prospect in Indianapolis, the combine sets up as a dash for cash.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread*.

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