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SPOTLIGHT
Jim Trotter
September 05, 2011
VON MILLER, Linebacker
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September 05, 2011

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VON MILLER, Linebacker

This year's No. 2 overall draft pick needed only a handful of practices to make an impression on one of the toughest and most experienced critics in the game: Broncos All-Pro cornerback Champ Bailey. After watching Miller go through one-on-one pass-rush drills and work the edge in nine-on-seven passing situations, Bailey said, "Von is a special player." Not "will be" a special player; Bailey used the present tense. "When you see his intelligence and some of his pass-rush moves, you can tell he's going to make plays."

It's been some time since the Broncos have had a 4--3 outside linebacker with Miller's explosion and pass-rush ability. In most cases the 6'3", 237-pound Miller will line up on the opposite side of Elvis Dumervil to prevent offenses from sliding their protections to contend with Denver's best pass rusher. The 2010 Butkus Award winner, Miller had 10½ sacks for the Aggies in a hybrid end-linebacker role called the Joker. With him attacking off one edge, Dumervil off the other and third-year pro Robert Ayers also bringing pressure—the Broncos expect significant improvement from Ayers, a 2009 first-rounder, now that he's moving from linebacker to end, his college position—Denver has the personnel to make Sundays unpleasant for opposing quarterbacks.

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