Player Interviews

Will the Chargers Go Two-for-One with Harlan Miller?


This is a critical offseason for Tom Telesco and the Chargers. The team has a huge number of needs and limited means for filling those voids. Because of this dilemma, Telesco is on the look-out for two-for-one players in the NFL Draft.

One such player is cornerback/punt returner Harlan Miller, who impressed Chargers scouts with his performance at last week’s Senior Bowl.

“I am excited to showcase my talent” he said. “I did what the coaches asked me to do; I did a good job of that and hopefully the scouts saw it.”

Miller (6’1”, 180 lbs.) was a highly productive cornerback at Southeastern Louisiana, intercepting 11 passes over the last three seasons. Four of those picks came during his senior campaign, when he also added 49 tackles and 10 pass breakups.

He also flashed explosive ability as a punt returner. He returned 27 punts during his time with the Lions, averaging 10.89 yards per return.

“I hope to do punt returns in the NFL,” Miller said. “Then maybe I can stay a little bit longer.”

Miller can make plays in other aspects of the kicking game, as well.

His special-teams skills certainly make him attractive to the Chargers. Last season’s signing of KR Jacoby Jones was a total bust, and replacement Javontee Herndon (7.4 yards per return) didn’t exactly set the world on fire.

That being said, it is Miller’s ability as a cornerback that could prompt the Chargers to call his name on draft day. San Diego has a pressing need at cornerback, as Jason Verrett is injury prone, Patrick Robinson is a free agent and Brandon Flowers is a possible cap casualty.

Miller believes he can be the answer for that questionable cornerback corps.

“I’m a big, physical corner,” he said. “I’m smart and I can learn the playbook really quickly. And I’m a good press corner.”

If you’re worried about a rookie cornerback making the jump from Southeastern Louisiana to the NFL, there is some precedent there. Fellow SELU product Robert Alford was taken in the second round of the 2013 draft by the Falcons. Alford is now a full-time starter and has multiple interceptions in each of his first three seasons in the league.

Miller believes he can be similarly successful in the pros, although he’s not exactly following Alford’s footsteps.

“I have not talked to Rob, but I think I’m going to make my own path to the NFL,” he said.
Miller started carving that path last week in Mobile, Ala. Throughout the week, he proved he is coachable and more athletic than advertised. During Saturday’s game, he led all defenders with seven tackles while helping the South Team to a 27-16 victory.

“It was very important. I’m just glad to have this opportunity to be here,” he said.

Miller’s next opportunity may come in San Diego. A projected day-three selection, the Chargers will strongly consider him after addressing more pressing needs on both sides of the line and at receiver. We know Telesco is not scared to roll the dice on a small-school cornerback, having tabbed Texas State’s Craig Mager in the third round of last year’s draft.

Will history repeat itself? It’s too soon to tell, but given Telesco’s predictable nature, it’s certainly a strong possibility.

Michael Lombardo has covered the San Diego Chargers since 2003. He spent 12 years covering the team for and has also been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports, and MySpace Sports. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter @NFLinsider_Mike.

About Michael Lombardo

Michael Lombardo has covered the San Diego Chargers since 2003. He spent 12 years covering the team for and has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports, Football Insiders and MySpace Sports.

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