Kendre Miller - RB - TCU
Kendre Miller was Zach Evans’ backup in both of their first two years at TCU. But with Evans injured for a lot of the 2021 season, Miller filled the void in a small committee. But when 2022 came around, Evans was gone via the transfer portal and Miller was unleashed as a bell cow in the TCU offense. He’s got the size and recent production at a Power 5 level, and it looks like he has a good chance to parlay that into solid draft capital and a role on an NFL offense.
Height: 5′ 11″
Weight: 215 lbs
40-yard dash: DNP
3-cone drill: DNP
20-yard shuttle: DNP
Vertical Jump: DNP
Broad Jump: DNP
Bench Press: DNP
*age is at the start of player’s rookie year
Miller wasn’t a highly regarded high school recruit when he committed to TCU. Despite that, he got on the field for 9 games over the course of the season and was part of a running back committee that included fellow draft prospect Zach Evans. In 2021, Zach Evans led the backfield for the first part of the season before having his season cut short with turf toe. While Evans was the lead back, Miller was the backup alongside Emari Demercado. In the games that Evans was out, it was both Miller and Demercado that shared the backfield with Miller being the more efficient one, gaining more yards on fewer carries and receptions.
Zach Evans announced his intent to transfer towards the end of the 2021 regular season and eventually made his way to Ole Miss. But for the Horn Frogs in 2022, it was Kendre Miller who won the starting job and earned the lion’s share of the backfield. He turned in an impressive season gaining 1,399 rushing yards and a staggering 17 touchdowns. He didn’t overly contribute in the receiving game, but caught 16 balls for 116 yards, bringing his total yard count to over 1,500. His performance earned him First-team All-Big 12 honors, and following the 2022 season, Miller eventually declared for the NFL Draft.
Kendre Miller has good NFL size that can carry a workload at 5’11” and 215 lbs. But he doesn’t necessarily play to his size, in a good way and a bad way. When he finds a crease in the defense, he displays a burst that isn’t common in bigger backs and a solid top-end speed to match. Additionally, in the open field, he showed the ability to make defenders miss with a deadly spin move he consistently displayed. And while physicality isn’t always his strong suit, he showed a knack for shedding off upper-body tackles easily. And he has the ability to consistently regain his balance after tacking on contact.
His receiving ability is lacking when looking at the box score, but on tape, he showed soft hands. He wasn’t schemed touches in the receiving game but was effective with the check-downs that he received and was able to pick up solid yards after the catch when given the opportunity.
As mentioned in the Positives section, Miller doesn’t play like a bigger running back. He isn’t a power back despite his size and generally struggles to display physicality in his game, avoiding contact more often than not. He’s susceptible to lower-body tackles and often gets tripped up. And he rarely pushed the pile in short-yardage situations. His vision tended to be a bit too inconsistent, especially into the second level of the defenses, and he was often too patient behind the line of scrimmage.
In the receiving game, he didn’t get many opportunities and was lacking in the production department, never catching more than 16 targets. In those targets, just about all of them were behind the line of scrimmage or within 5 yards as check downs. And the routes that he did run past the line of scrimmage were not great. Finally, his pass protection needs improvement as he missed assignments often and once again, doesn’t utilize his size in this area.
Pre Draft Analysis
Expected Draft Capital- Late Round 3 / Round 4
Kendre Miller provides the prototypical size for the running back position in the NFL and projects to be able to handle a heavy workload if needed. There are clear holes in his game as he needs to learn to utilize his size more in his game and develop in the passing game. But he has a solid foundation as a good rusher, he just needs to build upon that foundation to earn a consistent role at the next level. As of now, he profiles as a 2-down back with the potential to take over a backfield with injuries around him.
David Montgomery is a free agent this offseason, and if the Bears don’t re-sign him, Miller would be a great running mate to Khalil Herbert in the Bears’ offense. It wouldn’t be great for fantasy as the backfield would be a three-headed monster with Herbert, Miller, and Justin Fields, but it would be a formidable rushing attack. The Eagles are another prime landing spot if they don’t re-sign Miles Sanders this offseason and don’t take a running back as a luxury pick earlier in the draft. Miller would slide in as the early down back alongside Kenneth Gainwell, who the Eagles have made clear that they want to keep in a third down/complimentary running back role.
Post Draft Analysis
New Orleans Saints- Round 3, Pick 8
The New Orleans Saints is a team that is struggling a bit to find its identity. They have talented players on both sides of the ball both established veterans and young talents. One of the bigger question marks on the team though is the running back position, specifically, is Alvin Kamara going to serve a suspension this season? Even if he doesn’t or whenever he comes back, Kamara is heading into his age 28 season, which is nearing the end of the running back lifecycle. Kamara’s game tends to last a bit longer, but it’s smart for the Saints to go ahead and bring in some depth to this backfield that could be either a complement to Kamara or potentially the lead in this committee.
If Kamara is serving a suspension at the beginning of the season, Miller has the opportunity to play a role right off the bat. Honestly, even without a suspension, there is a solid chance he’s in the rotation with Kamara (the presumed 1a) and Jamaal Williams, who the Saints brought in to be the two down back this offseason. While Miller profiles as a two-down back with his size and minimal pass-catching ability, his running game doesn’t necessarily succeed that way. Without a suspension, it’s going to be murky early and probably not clear-cut. But this is a backfield to keep an eye on because we’ve seen two fantasy RB1s from the Saints in the past when Kamara and Ingram shared this backfield.
For Redraft, Miller is either a late-round flier or someone to keep an eye on waivers for unless there is definitive news that Kamara is missing a significant amount of games to start the season. But once it’s all three of Miller, Williams, and Kamara, this backfield is going to be murky behind Kamara unless Miller is able to establish himself as the legitimate RB2. Landing on Day 2 is a good sign, but not the end all be all for opportunity in the third round. He’s a good mid 2nd round flier in dynasty superflex drafts, but his ADP is currently all over the board. He doesn’t have a clear path to significant volume and his talent is just okay.