Eagles Promising DE Guarantees 10 Sacks in Second Season

Shareef Miller

Getty Shareef Miller is entering his second year in the NFL after sitting out the majority of his rookie year with the Eagles.

The Eagles’ never-ending search for a third edge rusher has a new candidate. He’s a player already on the roster, too.

Shareef Miller came into training camp last year with moderate hype as a fourth-round draft pick out of Penn State. He had an opportunity to earn a situational pass-rushing role for the Eagles but the team opted for Josh Sweat and, to a lesser degree, Daeshon Hall over him.

Despite recording two sacks in the preseason, Miller saw limited regular-season minutes in 2019. He was a healthy scratch for all but two games and saw just two total snaps, both coming on special teams. The young defensive end didn’t whine or complain about it. Now he appears ready to show what he can do in his second season.

Miller recently took to Twitter to tell everyone that he’s been “working” and he’s “taking everything.” He promised to record 10 sacks while shouting out “different vibes” and “great energy.”

It was a tad surprising that Miller rarely saw the field in 2019. The Eagles were thin at defensive end and relied on a rotation of Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Vinny Curry, with Sweat seeing the majority of snaps as the fourth edge rusher. Miller ranked second in sacks in the preseason with two and flashed his competitive nature by picking the first fight of training camp on Aug. 3 against Casey Tucker. Obviously the coaching staff didn’t see enough to warrant more playing time.

That’s OK. Miller got valuable experience on the scout team at practice. He lined up mostly against starting right tackle Lane Johnson so he learned a lot in his rookie year. Watch out for him in year two.

“If I can get some snaps, they gonna know,” Miller told NBC Sports Philadelphia. “They definitely gonna know. There’s a lot of people out there talking. But I understand it, so stuff don’t bother me. I know what kind of player I am.”

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Genard Avery Battling for Bigger Role in 2019

Miller’s biggest competition at defensive end — barring a last-minute trade for Yannick Ngakoue or Jadeveon Clowney signing — seems to be Genard Avery. The former Browns pass-rusher was acquired last October in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2021. That’s a big price for a bench player.

Avery, a linebacker-end hybrid with five career sacks, appeared in three games in 2019 and recorded half a sack. It came in Week 9 versus Chicago on his very first snap as an Eagles player. Avery wound up seeing just 33 total snaps last season, all of them on passing downs.

At 6-foot, 250 pounds, he’s a bit undersized for a defensive end but the organization saw enough promise to give up serious draft capital to get him. He was the Browns’ best tackler in 2018, per Pro Football Focus. He also racked up five sacks and 23 quarterback pressures in his rookie year in Cleveland.

“When we talked to the defensive coaching staff, they said this trade will pay off more in the future than it will through the course of the year and so we understood that,” Eagles GM Howie Roseman told reporters after last season. “We understood that it was a high price to pay, but it’s hard to find guys with his skillset and he’s a versatile guy. But he’ll be best served with an offseason.”

Johnson recently predicted Avery would be the one player to come back in the strongest shape in 2020 due to virtual workouts and COVID-19 restrictions. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox seemed to agree and called Avery a “maniac in the weight room.”

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