Eagles Shift to Defense with Philly Native Shareef Miller
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Jim Schwartz was left out of the party during the first two days of the NFL Draft but the Eagles defensive coordinator finally got some help on Day 3 when the Eagles selected Philadelphia native Shariff Miller with the final pick in the fourth round, No. 138 overall.
A two-year starter at left defensive end for Penn State, Miller returned to the city where he starred at in high school, first at Frankford before finishing up at George Washington.
"I grew up on the Eagles. Me and my grandpop watched the Eagles games every day," Miller said back at the NFL Scouting Combine. "When the Eagles won the Super Bowl, we cried when the Eagles won the Super Bowl. So ... if I get drafted to the Eagles that would be a dream come true. It would be crazy. I think my family would go crazy."
The dream came true on Saturday.
"Ah man, it was surreal. I couldn’t even put it in words. It still feels like a dream," Miller said on his introductory conference call. "I’m just so happy and just super excited and super blessed and super thankful that the Eagles gave me this opportunity to me, and just to be home too. It couldn’t be a better story."
Veteran Chris Long has told the Eagles to prepare like he wasn't coming back and this could be a nod to that reality as Miller gives new defensive line coach Phillip Daniels a little more to work with behind starters Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett.
Others on the depth chart at DE are Vinny Curry, second-year player Josh Sweat, the lengthy Daeshon Hall, and Joe Ostman.
"I’m just trying to come in with my head down and work," Miller said. "Just learn from my new teammates and my coaches. We’ve got a great group of guys in the room. We’ve got Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry – a lot of guys I looked up to – Chris Long, Fletcher Cox – a lot of guys I can learn from, and I’m just super excited. I’m just ready to just work, that’s it. Just put my head down and soak up all the knowledge I can from the older guys in the D-line room and learn from them how to be a professional."
The Eagles had a formal meeting with Miller at the combine where coach Doug Pederson took a keen interest in the 6-foot-4, 250-pound end.
"They had my good plays and my bad plays and I had the defensive line coach coaching me up, telling me what I could do, what I could have done better here," Miller said. "Stuff like that. And I was taking the coaching in and explaining the things we do. Coach Jim Schwartz was in there too, he was coaching me up too. But Doug Pederson was just like staring at me, my body language, stuff like that. It was pretty cool just being in a meeting with the Eagles, you know. I'm from Philadelphia and growing up loving the Eagles, so that was real good."
That was furthered at the Eagles local pro-day on April 17 when Schwartz and Daniels got a few hours with a player who projects as a rotational left end to start and then ramping things up if the Philadelphia coaching staff can sharpen up Miller's technique.
"It was great," Miller said of his visit to the NovaCare Complex. "As soon as I came in, I saw Coach Pederson and I went out on the field and saw Coach Daniels and he just snatched me and we went into his office. He was just saying ‘We have everything on you, your whole life.’ So we just watched plays from games and he was coaching me up and telling me things I could do to get better and how he would coach me to be a great player."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen