Philadelphia Eagles should sign do-it-all offensive weapon Braxton Miller

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

With Trey Burton gone, the Philadelphia Eagles should sign developmental QB/WR Braxton Miller to regain that Philly Special magic.

Even after teams around the league have finally moved past the arduous process of trimming their rosters down to 53, and sift through the waiver wire process, there are still plenty of players available who could potentially help to bolster a team with obvious holes like the Philadelphia Eagles.

Now don’t get me wrong, the Eagles have a boatload of talent, with arguably the best set of lines in the NFL and incredible depth at DB and RB, but even they claimed linebacker D.J. Alexander from the Seattle Seahawks, and made a trade for Chicago Bears safety Deiondre’ Hall.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Just ask Jay Ajayi.

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But, what if a dynamic playmaker with one of the more unique skill-sets of any player in the league were to become available? Would the team let go of a low-risk, low-reward player like DeAndre Carter for a developmental prospect with developmental potential and trick playability?

They just might.

After investing a third-round pick for his services back in 2016, the Houston Texans have officially moved on from Ohio State great Braxton Miller, waiving him in their initial roster trim down to 53.

And after going unclaimed, Miller is officially a free agent.

Miller, in his third year at wide receiver, was once one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in Big 10 history, punishing defenses with his livewire arm and legitimate 4.3 speed.

When paired with a decisive runner like Carlos Hyde or the infant days of Ezekiel Elliot, defensive coordinators would literally pull their hair out trying to figure out how to cover OSU’s read-option without leaving the team’s wide receivers wide open.

A 2014 national champion, it’s safe to say Miller’s college accolades, including a pair of Big 10 MVP awards, two Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year awards and the prestigious honor of being named the 2011 Freshman of the Year, have etched his place in the annals of Columbus for decades to come.

However, his transition from college superstar quarterback to NFL wide receiver has been far from prolific.

After suffering a brutal shoulder injury that resulted in a medical redshirt senior season, Miller made the transition to wide receiver after the emergence of Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett in an attempt to carve out a niche at the next level. Though he didn’t exactly pop off as a redshirt senior, Miller did earn 608 yards and four touchdowns on 68 offensive touches while filling a Percy Harvin-esque role in Urban Meyer‘s offensive scheme.

This potential earned him a third-round grade.

Though some talent evaluators had their reservations about drafting a 6-foot-1 college quarterback to play wide receiver in the NFL, Bill O’Brien, Millers’ former Big 10 foe, obviously knew Braxton’s potential after watching the former Buckeye rush for 202 yards and four touchdowns over two blowouts wins against the Penn State Nittany Lions.

But Miller simply couldn’t find his way onto the field.

After logging almost 9,000 yards and 90 touchdowns over four playing seasons in Columbus spread over two different positions, Miller only caught 34 passes for 261 yards, while running the ball four times for a single yard during his time in Houston.

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That’s just not the production a team expects from a third-round pick, especially one who was considered a candidate to start as the team’s slot receiver alongside fellow 2016 draft pick Will Fuller, and All-Pro number one receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

But even though the Texans were ready to move on after only two seasons, and none of the league’s 32 teams felt a need to put in a waiver claim on Miller, doesn’t mean he couldn’t develop into a solid NFL player.

In the right scheme, Miller could become one of the most dynamic, do-it-all weapons in league history.

After playing all over the Buckeyes offense, from quarterback to running back, to outside receiver and inside h-back, Miller’s closest pro comp may be a player like Ben Simmons: a positionless playmaker who produces when the ball’s in his hand in space.

Though Miller struggled to excel as a traditional slot receiver, the Eagles already have one of the best slot receivers in the game in Nelson Agholor. No, the dynamic Miller could bring to the team that they lost from a season ago is a lot closer to that of Trey Burton.

Burton, a former undrafted free agent who transformed himself from an undrafted college quarterback/wide receiver/fullback/tailback into a Super Bowl-winning tight end, will forever go down in Philly history as half (or a third) of the team’s signature play the ‘Philly Special’, but for the Eagles, he was so much more.

A four core special teamer, Burton wore a lot of hats over his tenure with the team, logging snaps at tight end, wide receiver, and even running back. Though versatility is obviously a plus for a player on the bottom half of an NFL depth chart, finding a diamond in the rough player who could conceivably fill four different roles in one game while also serving as the team’s emergency quarterback is pretty special.

Burton parlayed his special play and expansive potential into a brand new four-year, $32 million deal with the Chicago Bears, but with all respect to Trey, he’s in a different league athletically to Braxton Miller.

Even after his 2014 shoulder injury, Miller can still be an effective passer, a dynamic that a creative play caller like Doug Pederson could exploit considerably. Imagine playing Miller in the slot and turning a routine end around jet sweep into a 50-yard flea flicker, with a big-bodied receiver like Alshon Jeffery breezing past an unsuspecting defender on a would be running play.

Imagine Miller shifting the paradigm even further by simply taking a few snaps under center as a nu wildcat quarterback. Now don’t get me wrong, Miller’s not going to replace Carson Wentz any time soon, but he could be a nice complement, especially as Wentz continues to work his way back from a torn ACL and PCL.

After investing some serious time into developing Greg Ward from a college quarterback at Houston into an NFL wide receiver, it’s clear that that’s a dynamic the team is open to incorporating into their scheme.

It only has to work a few times a season for opposing teams to have to prepare for a trick play in the week leading up to a game, valuable time that could be used to actually prepare for Pederson’s exotic passing concepts.

Furthermore, while Miller could serve as an occasional wildcat quarterback, and give the Eagles the best emergency quarterback in the game, he could also serve as a solid weapon in the passing game.

After moving on from Donnel Pumphrey in the final cutdowns largely due to his inability to serve as a Darren Sproles-clone, Miller could conceivably play a similar role to the potential Hall of Famer as an offensive weapon, lining up in the backfield on one play and in the slot on the next.

If Miller can utilize his size, speed, and football IQ as a dedicated runner, whether that be as a receiver in space, out of the backfield, or as a rusher, he could bring some of that Buckeye flair to the City of Brotherly Love, essentially mirroring his college alumni Malcolm Jenkins on the offensive side of the ball.

Miller’s skill set is positively tantalizing.

So even though he’s failed to garner much attention after being waived by the Houston Texans on Saturday, Miller still has a lot to offer a team willing to play up his strengths.

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Though he’s far from a plug-and-play receiver that could fit in any scheme, Miller could conceivably play five different offensive positions on a creative team like the Eagles, while also adding some speed to a special teams unit. He may be a project, but Braxton Miller is a project the Philadelphia Eagles should seriously consider undertaking, as his versatile skill set is practically tailor-made for Doug Pederson’s scheme.