The Seattle Seahawks currently have a half dozen inside linebackers on their roster, including Bobby Wagner (welcome home!) and Devin Bush (UFA, Steelers), both of whom signed 1-year contracts in free agency.
Wagner and Bush join Jordyn Brooks (who may miss most/all of the 2023 season rehabbing the ACL injury he suffered in December), Nick Bellore (re-signed for 2 years), Jon Rhattigan (ERFA, qualifying offer), and Vi Jones.
Yet it appears likely that the Seahawks will select at least one linebacker in this year’s draft, and that makes sense since only Nick Bellore is currently signed past this season.
Enter Ventrell Miller?
According to The Draft Network’s Ryan Fowler, the Seahawks recently met with the Florida linebacker (emphasis on met with as this doesn’t appear to have been a Top-30 visit).
Busy week for Florida LB Ventrell Miller.— Ryan Fowler (@_RyanFowler_) April 6, 2023
He’s met with both the Seahawks and Chargers and is scheduled to sit down with Buccaneers brass today — a meeting that will include GM Jason Licht and HC Todd Bowles, a source said.
So who is Ventrell Miller, and why would the Seahawks be interested?
Ventrell Miller is a redshirt senior linebacker who played his college ball with the Florida Gators. As you might expect, based on his class standing, Miller is an older prospect - he turned 24 in January.
Part of the reason for Miller’s extended college experience is that he was one of nine Florida players suspended in 2017 for their involvement in a credit card scandal that led to felony fraud charges.
Miller was one of four players that rejoined the team in January 2018.
By 2022, Ventrell Miller was a team captain.
When his final season ended, Miller was named Florida’s Defensive Player of the Year and given the Fergie Ferguson Award for his “outstanding leadership, character, and courage.”
Head Coach Billy Napier had this to say about Miller:
“Ventrell Miller is as good of a human being as I’ve been around in my career. I can’t compliment him enough. His ability to affect the other players, his consistency as a person. There’s no wavering on his words, his actions, his care for other people. He’s an old soul. He has the ability to see the big picture and really care for other people. Very unique player, and he’s a heck of a football player. He in particular is one I will remember for sure.”
Miller finished his college career with 238 tackles, 23-1/2 tackles for loss (TFLs), and 7-1/2 sacks. He also had an 82-yard pick-6 (his freshman year), two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries.
According to multiple reports, including this one from Sports Illustrated, Miller played most of the 2022 season with a broken foot. He originally injured it in Week 2, missed Week 3, and returned Week 4.
Miller opted to skip the Gators’ bowl game and had bone graft surgery on his right foot to repair a Jones fracture on December 22nd.
He was able to attend the NFL Combine without a boot on his foot and is expected to be ready for rookie minicamp.
Here’s a video of him working out / rehabbing in late-February:
Florida LB Ventrell Miller will be at the NFL Combine without a boot on right foot following Dec. 22 bone graft surgery to repair Jones fracture. He’ll meet with teams/docs + expected to be ready for rookie minicamp, per source.— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) February 27, 2023
Miller, a Day 2 Draft candidate, working last week pic.twitter.com/XMVkj2iuLo
The above video notwithstanding, Miller wisely chose not to do any testing at the NFL Combine and doubled down on that decision at Florida’s Pro Day. Fortunately, there’s plenty of tape on him since he played in 43 games during his college career, and the scouting reports are robust.
According to The Draft Network, Ventrell Miller is 6-foot tall, weighs 232 pounds, has 32-1/2-inch arms, and 9-1/8-inch hands.
The Draft Network lists his 40-time as 4.60, but, as noted above, Miller didn’t test at either the Combine or his Pro Day so it’s unclear where that time came from.
From their scouting report:
Top Reasons to Buy In:
* High IQ/football knowledge
* Leadership qualities
Top Reasons for Concern:
* Sideline-to-sideline pursuit
* Pass coverage
* Functional strength
For what it’s worth, some folks have projected Ventrell Miller as a Day Two pick, but he is the 11th linebacker on PFF’s Big Board (#179 overall), and the 12th linebacker on PFN’s Consensus Big Board (#180 overall) which makes it seem like Day Three is probably more likely.