Despite playing quarterback in college, recently signed Braxton Miller may have the third-strongest arm in the Cleveland Browns wide receiver room.
You would think that recently signed Braxton Miller, formerly the superstar quarterback for the Ohio State University Buckeyes, would have the strongest arm among Cleveland Browns wide receivers, but perhaps this is not so.
But as DPD contributor Casey Kinnamon said, he may have the third-strongest arm in the wide receiver room, because this year’s group of wide receivers contains mutants like Odell Beckham Jr., who as a lark threw a football the entire length of the practice field, a heave of about 80 yards. He was not simulating a game throw, of course, and had the benefit of a strong running start, but that is still a monstrous pass.
Also not from planet earth is Jarvis Landry, who in a game versus the Bengals last year, connected on a 63-yard bomb to Breshad Perriman. The ball traveled some 58 yards in the air (see below if you are interested in how the estimate is made), and thrown across his body a little. Yet the pass was deadly accurate. If you like trick plays, perhaps this Cleveland Browns team might be the one for you.
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There is a danger, of course, in becoming too attached to trickery. Going into the season, it appears that the Browns are going to be the better team on the field most of the time, and trick plays may not be necessary in some of these games. As Baker Mayfield might say, “Don’t overthink it.” But you can bet that offensive coordinator Todd Monken has drawn up a few plays for his squad.
Miller, the pride of Huber Heights, Ohio, threw for 5,295 yards at the Ohio State University, rushed for 3,314, and upon switching to wide receiver after a shoulder injury, hauled in 341 receiving yards. Over his four-year career (five if you include the injured redshirt year), he accounted for an amazing 88 touchdowns.
But since turning pro, he has been used mainly as a receiver, with a paltry 261 receiving yards in two years of action and only one yard rushing. However, he has also returned both kickoffs and punts a few times for Houston, so that might be worth considering.
At Ohio State, Urban Meyer liked to get the ball into Miller’s hands, though he was not a great route runner, nor was he Beckhamesque in his ability to make the tough one-handed grabs and glue-fingered catches. Does that suggest he might be a third-down back? In that case he might be competing against Dontrell Hilliard and D’Ernest Johnson. In that respect it is discouraging that neither Houston nor Philadelphia seemed to have had much inclination to use him as a running back.
His gig at Houston lasted two years. Last season was spent on the practice squad for the Eagles, so they have had almost an entire year to get a good long look at him. But the Browns will have to see for themselves.
Yet, the Browns had luck last year with Breshad Perriman, who was supposedly a lost cause after two poor seasons in Baltimore and a brief tour with Washington, but eventually played very well the last several games of 2018.
The Browns would not have brought Miller in if they did not believe there is talent there, and especially if they feel there is a way that it can be utilized a bit differently than his previous employers did. That said, the odds are against the former Buckeye. This team has some very good receivers at the bottom of the depth chart, and it will be very difficult to rise to fifth or sixth in the remaining few days before the August 31 cut-down date. If the Browns can see him at a different position, that might help him.
Post script: For those who may be wondering how far Landry’s ball traveled through the air, an estimate can be made. By viewing the videos, he threw from about one yard from the left hashmark, at about the 23. He threw to Perriman, who caught it at the Bengals 25, about three yards in-bounds. By regulation, the football field is 53.33 yards wide, and the distance between the hashmark to sideline is 23.58 yards, giving dimensions similar to the sketch above. Estimating the downfield distance at 27 + 25 = 52 yards, and the net lateral distance at 25.7 yards, then the total distance traveled by the ball is given by the square root of the sum of 25.7 squared and 52 squared. In spreadsheet language, that is sqrt(25.7^2+52^2). That comes out to 58 yards through the air. If it had gone untouched, it would have easily traveled a few more yards. Landry’s throw was not as far as OBJ’s, but Landry had less of a running start and under more time pressure. In any case, they were both pretty good heaves.