We noted early in the 2011 season when the Broncos benched their star rookie Von Miller during the second half of a loss to the Chargers.
Miller didn’t leave the field often after that game. The Denver Post writes that Miller was on the field for 79.7% of the team’s defensive snaps throughout the year. Considering he missed an entire game to injury, that’s a very high number. (It was good for third on the team.)
There were two concerns with Miller heading into his rookie year: He might not not fit Denver’s scheme and that he may “only” be a pass rusher. Both concerns proved overblown.
The Defensive Rookie of the Year quickly showed he was already one of the most gifted pass rushers in the league. The Broncos found ways to use him. Miller’s ability to make plays against the run was a bigger surprise. He earned his playing time by performing a lot better against the run than expected.
The challenge for Miller will be to build on an incredible rookie year. He slowed down in the stretch run after hurting his thumb.
Miller has already shown he can be one of the best outside linebackers in the league. His ceiling at this point seems almost unlimited.
If he continues to improve, Miller can be the best defensive player in the league when he hits his prime.