VOL. 133 | NO. 82 | Tuesday, April 24, 2018
With NFL Draft Thursday, Will Tigers’ Anthony Miller Go Late in First Round?
By Don Wade
The NFL Draft is this Thursday. And University of Memphis wide receiver Anthony Miller is on the league’s radar. At nfl.com, draft analyst Mike Mayock ranks Miller as being tied for fifth-best receiver available with Oklahoma State’s James Washington.
Ranked ahead of Miller: 1. DJ Moore, Maryland. 2. Calvin Ridley, Alabama. 3. Courtland Sutton, SMU. 4. Christian Kirk, Texas A&M.
Anthony Miller, former U of M wide receiver, raises the ACC West Title trophy after defeating SMU 66-45 in 2017. (Daily News File/Houston Cofield)
Tiger fans might take exception, especially SMU’s Sutton being ahead of Miller. But when you read the detailed breakdown of Miller’s strengths and weaknesses you come to understand that there is a lot of subjective hair-splitting involved.
In other words, some team might surprise and make Miller, say, the third overall receiver taken. Or he could slip to being, say, the eighth overall WR picked if teams are worried limited games against Power Five teams (they shouldn’t be, by the way).
Everyone seems to like Miller’s toughness and competiveness, and the fact he started at Memphis as a walk-on. But there is not uniform agreement on his speed and there is concern about the dependability of his hands.
For example, the analysis at nfl.com lauds him for being able to work inside and outside, accelerating out of his cuts and “creating throwing window,” and for being good with his feet near the sideline getting yardage after the catch.
But Miller is knocked for poor concentration on short passes and for dropping or juggling catches on the short routes. Ball security is also mentioned, as Miller had five career fumbles. And then there’s this: “Might be quicker than fast.”
Of course, the analysis of top-ranked receiver DJ Moore found plenty of flaws, too, including sometimes failing to burst out of breaks to create separation, a disappointing win percentage on 50-50 balls and not showing the same competitiveness as a route runner as he does after the catch.
By the time the draft finally gets here, even the best players often end up with a longer list of weaknesses than strengths. The bet here: Miller is taken before the end of the second round and proves a productive receiver as a rookie.
Tigers’ Azab Shares News of Diagnosis
Memphis basketball player Karim Sameh Azab revealed via social media that he has been diagnosed with leukemia lymphoma. This follows the statement from the UofM athletic department a few weeks ago that said Azab was undergoing unspecified medical treatment.
In a Twitter post over the weekend, Azab said he learned of the diagnosis several weeks ago. “I have since started treatment and am working through the process,” Azab wrote. “But I wanted to spread the word and ask for prayers to help strengthen me in this journey.”
“Pretty cool to win three in a row. But next week we go to Talladega. I think it’s easier to win the Power Ball than win at Talladega.”
NASCAR driver Kyle Busch after his win last Saturday at Richmond Raceway
“Fans deserve to see what’s going on with us and how things are forming, learn more about me … you’ve got to connect with the fans.”
Memphis basketball coach Penny Hardaway on using Instagram to provide updates for Tiger Nation
“Honestly, it still doesn’t feel real. Even after the last out I couldn’t even imagine throwing a no-hitter in the big leagues, especially against a team like the Red Sox.”
A’s pitcher Sean Manaea after his no-hit gem last Saturday in Oakland
“I never want the season to be over. I can play every day. It’s a little sad, looking at that, but at the same time you need the rest mentally. It was a rough season.”
Grizzlies guard Andrew Harrison the day after the team’s 22-60 season ended