Family runs deep, especially when it comes down to NFL loyalties. Eagles rookie defensive end Shareef Miller was born in Philadelphia, graduated from George Washington High School, and cheered on the Birds every Sunday with his family. When the team he grew up cheering for drafted him, he was ecstatic. To say the least.
Miller was also relieved another NFC East team didn’t draft him: the Dallas Cowboys. Miller, a fourth-round draft pick out of Penn State, admitted to NBC Sports’ Marc Farzetta that his family would have been “pissed.”
“If I would have gotten drafted by Dallas, man. Obviously, I would have played there because that’s out of my control, but my family … they probably would have been pissed. Pissed.”
Luckily for the 6-foot-5, 260-pounder that alternate reality didn’t happen. The Eagles were in desperate need of a pass-rusher and selected Miller with the 138th overall selection. A lifelong fan, Miller cried tears of joy while watching with his grandfather the night the Eagles won the Super Bowl. He can’t imagine what his family would have done had the Cowboys drafted him.
“It probably would have been a struggle for them to get in a jersey with my name on it in Dallas because we didn’t like Dallas at all growing up,” Miller told NBC Sports. “We hated them. I’m happy that didn’t happen and now I can go get their quarterback [Dak Prescott].”
The Eagles are going to need their rookie end to make an immediate impact as they try to fill the huge void left by outgoing pass-rushing specialist Michael Bennett. In three years at Penn State, Miller tallied 100 total tackles and 14.5 sacks, including a team-high 7.5 in 2018. Scouts have praised his speed off the snap and compared him to free agent Andre Branch.
Miller’s personal story is a touching one. At the end of his senior year in high school, his 25-year-old brother was tragically and unexpectedly killed in his own neighborhood. Mikal Powell-Miller was shot four times after getting into an argument in West Philadelphia. The stinging loss caused him to shut down mentally, factoring in his decision to red-shirt during his freshman year at Penn State.
“I didn’t talk to people for weeks. I didn’t even want to come to Penn State,” Miller told Inquirer.com.
In the end, it all helped him to become the man and player he is today. Miller is trying to earn a coveted spot on the Eagles’ 53-man roster and he’s already caught the eye of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
“I like some of the additions we have had. We have some younger players moving into some of those roles,” Schwartz told reporters last week. “Even a young draft pick like [DE] Shareef [Miller] has done some good things for us over the last couple weeks.”