Leading up to the NFL Draft many teams will continue their evaluation process on prospects while altering their draft boards in preparation for Draft day. CPGM will provide you a breakdown of two prospects matched against each other with similar draft projections to get you prepped for this year’s draft. Voting option below for your input on who you think the better prospect is in this NFL Draft Matchup.
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It’s the battle of the slot receivers in this draft matchup which pits Christian Kirk versus Anthony Miller. Or is it? Both Kirk and Miller excelled from the slot in their collegiate careers but the question will now be can they transition to playing on the outside at the next level? We’ve witnessed this debate last year with Cooper Kupp and Zay Jones as both succeeded as a slot receivers in college; Jones struggled with consistency outside in his rookie season in Buffalo while the Rams kept Kupp in his natural position and he flourished. What will NFL teams do with Kirk and Miller? Keep them comfortable in the slot at a position they dominated in their collegiate careers? Or force them to play outside and hope they can make that transition? Although both guys win from the same position they do it a bit differently. Miller is a short stepper that aggressively cuts in and out of his breaks while Kirk is a smoother route runner that understands the nuances to get open against a zone defense.
I really enjoyed watching these two prospects’ respective tape. Anthony Miller wins at every level and he does it quite easily. I call him twinkle toes as his ability to set up his routes in and out of his breaks will make it easy for quarterbacks to find him early in their progression. Although my counterpart in this draft matchup analysis CPGM Drew, believes he can thrive on the outside, Miller is a quintessential slot receiver due to his traits of getting open easily and racking up huge yardage after catch. My only concerns is his concentration due to him dropping a decent amount of short passes looking to get up field. Once he cleans that up he has the opportunity to have a long productive career. Although I love Miller’s game, the guy in this matchup I give the edge to is Christian Kirk. Before watching his tape, I figured Kirk to be a player that was best suited for college over the NFL in that most of his touches were manufactured. While he did get a lot of touches at or behind the line of scrimmage, a deeper dive into Kirk showed his ability to run routes with a suddenness that will win at the next level. It’s the little things in which Kirk excels at like the way he sets up his routes by using a deliberate tempo, slight body fakes and footwork to run short to intermediate routes. I’ve said it and will say it again, Kirk truly understands how to get open. He will be a third down savior for an NFL team sort of like Jarvis Landry in the slot. I wouldn’t try to have Kirk play outside to justify his draft position. Put him in the slot and it will give your quarterback a safe and reliable target.
Christian Kirk is going to be a a very good slot wide receiver and exemplifies what the new age slot is. Big with strong hands who has plenty of shiftiness to boot. Open field is where Kirk is at his best and with a nose for the end-zone. Although it takes him some time to reach his max speed his open field prowess was continuously on display despite being schemed opened pre or post snap. With Kirk either lining up in the backfield as a half back, being set in motion, or at the snap he is the receiver that is off the line so he has room to get into his route. It makes me wonder why that is? I question whether Kirk can deal with an aggressive physical man-to-man corner. I don’t think he can and explains why he was and should be regulated inside. Now in college press man isn’t something most receivers see a ton of especially in the slot, but in the NFL that isn’t the case. Anthony Miller is going to be something special in my opinion. The pace at which he plays is at a different level then most on the field. Watching his film he breaks folks off at the top of the route with precision by stopping on a dime and making 10 cents change leaving defenders flat footed or in the dust. A violent, strong runner after the ball is in his hands as if he has something to prove. I want folks to take a look at the measureables of one Odell Beckham Jr. when coming out and compare them to that of Anthony Miller’s. First person who came to mind when watching his tape was OBJ. I can only assume it’s the first time hearing this and I’m not big on comps. I deem him Odell Beckham Jr. lite!
Headley’s NFL Comparisons:
Christian Kirk – Jarvis Landry; Anthony Miller – Jamison Crowder