Top choices Miller, Dareus could have tough NFL adjustment

Every year there are draft picks that end up being a poor fit for their new team. So we asked our experts: Which rookie landed in the wrong spot?

  • !
  • Jason La Canfora NFL Network
  • Can Miller make adjustment in Denver?

Von Miller is about as clean a prospect as there was in this draft. If you're looking for questions, though, it could be how he will fit in Denver's move to a 4-3. Miller had 3-4 teams salivating with his outside-pass-rush ability.

  <table align="right" width="315px"> 
      <content:static src="/widgets/custom/packages/latest_debates.html"></content:static></td> 
  </table> At 237 pounds, some believe he fits best as a 3-4 linebacker, relying on his explosion. He could obviously bulk up, but then is that at the expense of some of that speed that made him such an elite talent in the first place?  

John Fox desperately needs playmakers and pairing Miller off Elvis Dumervil will create some problems for protection schemes. Still, will Miller make as much of an impact as say, Marcell Dareus? That will be the question down the road when this draft is evaluated.

  • !
  • Vic Carucci
  • Transition to DE could tough for Miller

"Bad fit" might be too strong a description for any rookie who has yet to play an NFL down. But one potential square-peg-into-a-round-hole scenario could result from the Broncos making Von Miller the second overall pick. Most NFL talent-evaluators with whom I spoke before the draft insisted that Miller's best fit was as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, essentially continuing to do what he did at Texas A&M. John Fox is running a 4-3 defense in Denver.

Although Miller is a talented enough athlete to perform well in any scheme, his most logical position with the Broncos is defensive end. That scenario would presumably make a transition that is hard enough to begin with even tougher because he has had no chance to work with coaches during the offseason. The extremely high expectations that come with Miller's draft status create the additional burden of needing to be an immediate success in a defense that doesn't appear perfectly suited to his skills.

  • !
  • Pat Kirwan
  • Clayborn might not provide pass rush

The longer the lockout goes, the more likely a large number of rookies could struggle. While all the rookie quarterbacks are all going to have a rough adjustment if they have limited preparation time, a non-QB who could disappoint is Bucs defensive end Adrian Clayborn. He will be disruptive and play the run well, but with only 3.5 sacks as a senior, he could have a tough time getting to the quarterback.

  • !
  • Charles Davis NFL Network
  • Dareus could have slow start

I think Marcell Dareus, who is the best defensive tackle in the draft, could have some struggles early. He's athletic enough to play DT in a 4-3 (the three-technique) or DE in a 3-4 (the five-technique), but I like him best inside. He won't play that spot in a 3-4 except in nickel or sub-package situations. He's not necessarily a bad fit for Buffalo, just that he would have been a better one with a base 4-3 team.

  • !
  • Elliot Harrison
  • Houston, we could have a problem

It's hard to say a player is a bad fit when teams haven't even had minicamps, so we're not entirely sure how some of these guys are going to be used. I'm curious about J.J. Watt in Houston at the 3-4 defensive end. He's a big kid (6-foot-5, 290 pounds), but with the whole front seven transitioning, Watt will have to lean primarily on his coaching staff for advice.

A lot of people wanted Houston to hit the back four in the first round, not the front seven ... and for good reason. I think the NFL adjustment will be tricky for Watt, even though he's big enough and occasionally played head-up on the offensive tackle in college. He's going to be expected to contribute right away in a new defense where everyone is learning. However, that learning process hasn't started yet because of the lockout. I think it's possible that Watt is a tough fit at first, goes through some growing pains, but still has a solid rookie season.

  • !
  • Bucky Brooks
  • Be watchful of this Bear

This is a really hard one to take on because every team believes their draft pick will fit into their system. Also, we don't really know how a team plans on using a player because we haven't had the opportunity to see them in minicamps or OTA practices. If I had to pick a player that I would be concerned about scheme-wise, I would go with Gabe Carimi. Not that he is a bad player, but I don't know if he has elite feet to play left tackle and he is better suited to play in a run-heavy offense. Of course, Chicago might be on the verge of tweaking their approach to have a more balanced attack, but Mike Martz loves to throw and it doesn't look like a great fit to me on the surface.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content