Steelers Work Out Ex-USFL Punter, Former Michigan Tight End

Tight End Nick Eubanks

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images Nick Eubanks of the Michigan Wolverines runs for a touchdown against the Indiana Hoosiers on November 17, 2018.

On Thursday the Pittsburgh Steelers worked out a pair of players, including 31-year-old punter Brock Miller, who played for the USFL’s New Jersey Generals earlier this year. Miller’s workout was first reported by Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network.


Brock Miller is a Lefty, Just Like Bengals Punter Kevin Huber

The decision to work out Miller — who is left-footed — is certainly curious, as the former undrafted free agent is a decade removed from his college career with the Southern Utah Thunderbirds and has never kicked in an NFL game. At 5-foot-11 and 181 pounds, he’s also undersized by NFL standards. That said, it’s likely the Steelers brought him in so Pittsburgh’s punt returners could get accustomed to catching punts from a lefty, as this weekend’s opposition — the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals — employ left-footed punter Kevin Huber.

In a nutshell, left-footed punters can present problems for returners. As Jenny Vrentas of SI.com has noted, “left-footed punts spin the opposite direction, counterclockwise (from the punter’s perspective), presenting an extra challenge for returners who are used to reading a right-footer’s spin. From the punt’s apex, a left-footed ball will fade to the returner’s right, whereas most returners are used to catching right-footed balls that fade to their left. That has the potential to cause a returner to hesitate or, even better for the punting team, to muff the catch.” Hence the decision to try out Miller during this particular week.

For what it’s worth, Miller did spend time with the San Francisco 49ers in 2017 and last season he worked out for at least two NFL teams — the Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts. During his time with the New Jersey Generals he punted 31 times and averaged 46.3 yards per kick, with 10 punts inside the 20.

As for his career at Southern Utah, Miller finished his journey with a school record 42.6 yards per punt average. At times he also handled kickoffs and served as placekicker for the Thunderbirds.

According to a tweet from earlier this week, Miller recently started working as a valet at restaurant in San Diego and he got off to an inauspicious start at his new gig.

“I locked a customer out of their car during my first shift… Can only go up from here!! (I miss football),” he wrote.


Ex-Michigan Wolverines TE Nick Eubanks Had a Tryout, Too

Meanwhile, on Thursday the Steelers also worked out tight end Nick Eubanks — 6-foot-5 and 256 pounds — who played his college ball at Michigan (2016-2020), where he was a team captain during his last year. He appeared in 36 career games for the Wolverines and caught 45 passes for 578 yards and six touchdowns.

Eubanks entered the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys in the spring of 2021, having gone undrafted despite running a 4.59 40-yard dash at Michigan’s Pro Day. He spent part of the last season on Philly’s practice squad before joining Detroit’s practice squad in November 2021.

He was signed by the Bengals in April of this year and but was waived during the team’s final round of roster cuts.

For what it’s worth, Eubanks has been viewed as a good “fit” for the Steelers in the past. For example, in October 2020, Steelers beat writer Nick Farabaugh wrote that he “is the type of TE that makes sense for the Steelers this year. He’s physically imposing but extremely athletic. Insane catch radius. Has mismatch potential. Improving as a blocker. Fit makes a lot of sense.”

Read More
, ,
Comment Here
Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x