Black Magic, Moneyball and Chiefs OLB Gabe Miller

With the Draft a week away, I'm pretty tired of rehashing the same discussions about the same few players over and over again. When the dust settles and the blue-chip guys are all gone, the Chiefs, like every other team will start selecting project players in later rounds. Many of whom even the most diehard fans have never heard of.

One selection in last year's draft class caught me completely by surprise: 5b Gabe Miller, DE Oregon State.

One of the fastest ends in the Pac-10 Conference ... recorded the fasted 10-yard dash time on the team during testing last spring ... originally a tight end, but made the move to the defensive side prior to the 2009 season ... co-team captain.

Let's take a closer at the selection that completely befuddled me and the Draft pundits:

Mike Buckman,

Round 5b; Gabe Miller, LB/TE


Although he lacks elite physical tools, he possesses good speed, and he has excellent intangibles. Although the Chiefs intend to use him as a linebacker, he has experience as an H-back. Another player who could really contribute to special teams.

The Chiefs apparently decided they needed more depth at linebacker. Could make a contribution on special teams. Miller was a huge reach that won’t likely make much of a contribution outside of providing a warm body for training camp and maybe special teams. Much better value could have been had here for a team that still had unmet needs. He was picked #140 overall, but most teams didn’t even realize he exists. If he had been picked in the 7th, he might have received a C.


Pick Grade: F

140. Gabe Miller, DE/OLB, Oregon State Who the hell is Gabe Miller? Seriously. He's not on my board. He's not on Scouts Inc.'s board. He's No. 286 at NFL Draft Scout. What a weird pick.


Gabe Miller, DE

Prospect Grade: 20

Round Equivalent: These are players that lack NFL measurables and/or skills. They are players that we feel would not make a solid contribution as a training camp body.

A fast and agile converted TE, his college stats were respectable but unexceptional for a Pac-10 DE:

Tackles TFL Sacks FF PD

2010 43 7 4.0 0 2

2009 23 5 3.0 2 0

Scott Pioli states in the book, War Room:

We picked Gabe Miller off his individual workout, which was so good scouts talked about it around the office.

What was it about Gabe Miller's workout made them spend a 5th round pick on him?


Last week I wrote a post about Drafting 3-4 DEs. In the comments ChiefWarPaint, MNchiefsFan and I got into a discussion about how some of the real Underwear Olympics stats guys create all sorts of formulas to determine if players have the right athleticism and body type to succeed in a given position.

I've always been a game tape production kind of guy. But in recent years there have been some measureables that really do seem to correlate to success at the NFL—arm length for tackles and pass rushers is a good example.

Weird Science

Certainly there are advanced metrics too. While doing some research for my post on 3-4 DEs, I stumbled upon these interesting tables. A Packers fan/mad mathematician named Waldo developed some metrics to try to classify pass rusher prospects and try to predict their bust potential. Let me caveat all of this by saying that this type of analysis is very speculative black magic, dark arts, heavy voodoo kind of stuff. I am very much out of my element here.

One of his custom metrics is "twitch" which he developed to measure the speed at which player can change direction.

Twitch = Shuttle - 2*10 yd split - (1.60 - 10 yd split)

It uses the 40 time minus the shuttle time, substituting a 10 yd split instead of the 40. Since it is a 20 yd vs. 20 yd comparison, guys that can change directions fast will have a lower number. The bit at the end is a modifier that rewards fast guys and penalizes slow guys as it is meant to approximate how sudden a player is with their movements. Lower is better.

He assigns the "Low Risk" tag to pass rushers with a twitch formula score of under 1.10

(Clicking on the tables makes them bigger)


Green = Pro Bowler

Yellow = Starter

Gold = Backup (as of 2011)

Orange = Bust

Red = Injury Bust

White = Not yet drafted

Another measurable that he thinks is significant for pass rushers is 3-Cone Drill.

The "Lowest risk" prospects have a twitch formula score under 1.10 and a 3-Cone time under 7.0 seconds

(Clicking on the tables makes them bigger)


Green = Pro Bowler

Yellow = Starter

Gold = Backup (as of 2011)

Orange = Bust

Red = Injury

White = Not yet drafted (2011)

There's Gabe Miller right at the bottom. A very promising set of athletic attributes for Tamba Hali's backup. It would seem that Chiefs scouts saw something in Miller's workout that came to a similar conclusion—that Gabe Miller was a sleeper prospect. I read in another forum some complete hearsay that the Jets were drooling over Gabe Miller as a 6th round pick.


I gotta take my hat off to Scott Pioli. This team was dismal in January 2009 when he took over. In just three off-seasons he's transformed a hopeless bottom-feeder into a roster that looks stacked at every position save QB.

Instead of hoping our starters look competent, I'll be eagerly watching all the preseason games this year to see if some of the Chiefs developmental players with ideal NFL size, speed and athleticism like OLB Gabe Miller, OT David Mims and DE Brandon Bair can turn the corner and become contributors on the field. Hell, I might even go up to St. Joe for one of the night scrimmages during training camp. Someone should organize an AP meet-and-greet for that, with beer.



Even though I though I think SillyHatDay's post on How to Draft a Pass Rusher (A Must Read IMHO) is better and more thorough. This formula-making mad scientist has one more chart of his absolute favorite pass rushing prospects. Here he uses a different metric called explosive power formula, as a gauge of how much force a player generates coming out of his stance.

Explosive Power = (vert+3.5*broad)*(weight/height)/3000

Lowest Risk 2, (Explosive)

(Clicking on the tables makes them bigger)


Green = Pro Bowl

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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