The New Orleans Saints were in the market for insurance at running back this offseason. General manager Mickey Loomis further addressed the position by selecting former TCU running back Kendre Miller with the No. 71 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. Miller possesses an opportunity to play a standout role in New Orleans.
Saints starting running back Alvin Kamara may be suspended for a portion of the 2023 campaign. Kamara was arrested and booked for battery resulting in substantial bodily harm after an alleged off-field incident. Kamara recently pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit battery and substantial bodily harm charges. The judge in the case set a July 31 trial date. The NFL could rule on Kamara’s case before then. The standard punishment has been a six-game suspension.
Loomis has been preparing his squad for Kamara’s potential leave. In addition to drafting Miller with a top-100 selection, the Saints also signed veteran ball-carrier Jamaal Williams to a reasonable three-year contract worth $12 million. Williams led the entire NFL in rushing touchdowns with 17 scores last season. Miller and Williams can form an exciting duo in Kamara’s absence.
Miller found himself in a workhorse role for the Horned Frogs in 2022. Miller surpassed expectations by rushing for 1,399 yards on 224 carries (6.2 yards per carry) and 17 touchdowns. Miller played a crucial role on a high-powered offense that scored a ninth-ranked 38.8 points per contest. Miller helped lead TCU to the National Championship game for the first time in program history.
Miller will be playing for a new-look offensive cast in New Orleans that includes acquisitions like Derek Carr at quarterback, Williams, and Foster Moreau at tight end. Chris Olave and Michael Thomas return at receiver. The Saints have the potential to be the most explosive offense in the NFC South.
Miller is a patient ball carrier that scans the action before reacting. Miller flawlessly moves from gap to gap before identifying the appropriate rushing lane. Miller has displayed an innate ability to work to the second level with control while maintaining terrific contact balance.
Miller has terrific physical traits for the position. The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Miller often bounces off defenders and continues to pick up positive yardage. Miller also possesses 90th-percentile arm length (32 3/8″) and 59th-percentile hand size (9 3/8″). Athletic comparisons include Jeff Wilson Jr. and Tank Bigsby, per MockDraftable.
Miller has room for growth as a pass-catcher. The Mount Enterprise, Texas native recorded an unimpressive 29 receptions across three campaigns at TCU. The veteran Williams accumulated a career-low 12 catches last season. Kamara is one of the league’s premier dual-threat backs. His absence would free up an abundance of passing-down touches. With a little fine-tuning, Miller could take advantage.
The Saints have done well to position themselves to compete for the NFC South division title in 2023. Kamara’s unpredictable availability for the impending season looms large in relation to the Saints’ postseason aspirations. Loomis did well to protect his Saints against Kamara’s potential absence by pairing Williams with Kendre Miller.
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