Bears' 2020 Roster Breakdown: Anthony Miller | WR
Each summer, BearDigest.com goes player by player to break down the Chicago Bears' roster. This includes all 90 of them.
We'll scrutinize each player's history and what they bring to the 2020 Bears. Next up is third-year receiver Anthony Miller, their 2018 second-round draft pick who is getting over his second shoulder surgery in as many seasons.
Miller's improvement last year came rapidly in the second half, and especially after the loss of Taylor Gabriel due to concussions. The Bears were forced to rely more on Miller then and he delivered.
He averaged five catches for 62.6 yards per game over the final seven games after averaging 1.9 catches and 24.2 yard in the first nine games last year. Gabriel had gone out for good in the 11th game with his second concussion.
So it was truly a case of a young player stepping forth, but Miller is capable of much more. In fact, his stats might have been much better last year had he been able to play the full finale with Minnesota. For the second straight year he suffered the shoulder injury requiring surgery against the Vikings in the finale and this was an even more senseless injury because the Bears had him returning kicks when Cordarrelle Patterson suffered a concussion.
They had several other players who could have done it rather than risk another shoulder injury to Miller but had him do it even when it wasn't even a strong point.
Miller's maturity and ability to pick up the offense better blended into the improvement from 33 rookie receptions to 52 last year. His catch percentage was almost the same each year and it's here where he can still improve. It was 61.1 as a rookie and 61.2 last year.
With good hands and route running both strengths of Miller's there's every reason to anticipate that percentage will go up regardless of who the quarterback is.
Miller's yards after the catch his first two years of 5.2 and 4.2 probably impress no one but compared with most of the Bears' receivers he looked like a wild colt running free on the plains. They just haven't had YAC in either of Matt Nagy's first two years.
If there is a quarterback change, the tight ends contribute and a speed receiver outside on the right side step forth to balance out the attack, Miller is a receiver whose yards per catch and after the catch could ascend rapidly.
He's not a vertical type but ideal for the slot or as a third in four- or five-receive sets.
Anthony Miller at a Glance
Weight: 199 pounds
Position: Slot receiver or "Z" receiver.
Key Stats: Miller more than cut his dropped pass percentage in half from Year 1 to Year 2, from 7.4% to 3.5%.
Starting Outlook: 4 on a 1-5 scale
Likely Outcome: His snaps could actually decrease because Matt Nagy will want to use more 12 personnel than 11 personnel like he had to use last year. This could take Miller off the field more, or it could mean they use him as the second wide receiver rather than Ted Ginn Jr. or Darnell Mooney.