Philadelphia Eagles: Braxton Miller was woefully underutilized

Braxton Miller(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Braxton Miller(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

As the Philadelphia Eagles prepare for life after Braxton Miller, let’s take a look back at his woefully underutilized tenure in the City of Brotherly Love.

After a far too long tenure with the team, the Philadelphia Eagles have finally waived Braxton Miller to free up a roster spot for brand new backup quarterback Josh McCown.

While Miller’s removal from the team felt all too inevitable after failing to make much of an impact over the first two games of the summer, it’s still a bit surprising to see such a big name college prospect get waived midway through the preseason.

Which is really unfortunate, because Miller could have been such a unique weapon in Doug Pederson‘s offense.

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One of the most decorated players to ever suit up for the Ohio State Buckeyes, Miller took college football by storm as one of the most dynamic dual-threat quarterback of all time – amassing  5,292 yards and 52 touchdowns through the air, and 3,054 yards and 32 touchdowns on the ground over his first three seasons in Columbus.

For his efforts, Miller earned two Big Ten Most Valuable Player awards, two Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year awards, two Griese–Brees Quarterback of the Year awards, two First-team All-Big Ten and was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2011.

But after suffering a shoulder injury that resulted in a medical redshirt in 2014, Miller returned to the field no longer the big man on campus, with Cardarel Jones and J.T. Barrett entrenched in a two-man battle royal for the role of Urban Meyer‘s next franchise quarterback.

Sure, switching his position to wide receiver was also meant to set Miller up for potential success in the NFL, as teams very seldom target 6-foot-2 scramblers to run a traditional pro-style scheme, but even locked into a system he knew like the back of his hand, the former quarterback failed to latch on while playing out of position.

In hindsight, that should have been a big ‘ole red flag.

From there, Miller drew praise – and ire – from pundits in regards to his potential in the league, and was selected 85th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans – in large part because of his display at the Combine (despite running an unimpressive 4.5 40).

Fast forward two seasons and Miller was waived unceremoniously in the Texans’ final trim down to 53 after amassing 261 yards and two touchdowns in 21 games of action.

Over his tenure with the Texans, Miller never received a single rushing attempt as was largely miscast as a gadget guy with no clear position.

But in Philadelphia, things would be different, right?


After joining the Birds on their practice squad in September of 2018, Miller largely remained out of the spotlight, receiving minor headlines here and there for his previous Ohio State accolades or for running the scout team as an option quarterback.

Four years removed from being an NCAA national champion, Miller was effectively an afterthought fighting for a sixth roster spot – if a sixth roster spot was even on the table.

Through his first two contests as an Eagle, Miller hauled in two lonely passes for 13 yards and no touchdowns.


Frankly, the most interesting thing that happened to Miller over the course of the summer was almost having to take snaps under center against the Jaguars after a first-quarter injury to Cody Kessler left the Birds with only one quarterback on their active roster in Clayton Thorson.

But why?

Why didn’t the Eagles get creative with Miller in a sort of hybrid wide receiver/running back/ quarterback sort of way?

I mean he’s certainly proven himself a serious weapon both through the air and on the ground in college – really, the only thing Millers hasn’t shown a pension for is catching balls split out wide (or in the slot). Why not take a few chances, Philly Special style, and use Miller on a bubble screen, on a jet sweep, or in the Wildcat as an option quarterback?

The Saints have transformed Taysom Hill, an undrafted free agent out of BYU who didn’t make his NFL debut until he was 27, into one of the league’s most unique offensive weapons – and he wasn’t even remotely as effective a weapon as Miller over their shared tenure in the NCAA.

While casting Miller as the next Hines Ward may have been premature, he certainly has more natural talent than Denard Robinson, Blake Bell, Brad Smith, and even his fellow OSU alum Terrell Pryor, who’s entering his eighth year in the NFL now as a member of the Jaguars.

Who knows, maybe Doug Pederson and company did try to use Braxton Miller in creative ways to maximize his scheme flexibility – and the team’s offensive potency – in practice and it just didn’t work out, but after being heralded as an offensive genius for his potent, balanced West Coast-adjacent scheme, it’s a bit concerning that the Eagles couldn’t find a way to utilize one of the most dynamic offensive players in college football history in a more creative way.

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Greg Ward, take note: Despite your incredibly varied offensive skill set as a college quarterback at Houston, the Philadelphia Eagles just don’t value position flexibility at the bottom of their roster.