Heath Miller Snubbed In ESPN Power Rankings?
Sure I am a Steelers blogger and look at stuff concerning the Steelers with my black and gold glasses on most of the time. In the latest power rankings that ESPN put out that ranks the tight ends, they have Steelers tight end Heath Miller ranked 13th overall and Miller received just 2 top 10 votes from John Clayton and ESPN North blogger James Walker. If they are basing their power rankings on the 2010 season alone, which it seems they are in the case of Miller, then the drop off in production that Miller had statistically in 2010 versus 2009 might be some what of a valid argument. In defense of Miller, he did miss 2 games and a portion of another due to a concussion he suffered against the Ravens. Miller also is an integral part of the running game and logged nearly 850 regular season snaps on offense despite the two games he missed. Buccaneers tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., who finished 7th in the power rankings, did not even log 700 offensive snaps and Packers tight end Jermichael Finley logged just 212 snaps before being lost for the season. Seems to be some bias here or at the very least inconsistent reasoning.
Although his numbers were down in 2010 versus 2009, Miller rates as perhaps one of the leagues most reliable tight ends since he was drafted in 2005. Over the course of 6 seasons, Miller has been targeted 396 times during the regular season and has caught 284 of the balls thrown his way for a 72% catch percentage. That percentage is tops in the league for that span when compared to other tight ends that have been targeted 200 times or more over that span of 6 seasons. Also during that time span Miller has averaged 8.1 yards per target. Once again if you compare that to other tight ends that have been targeted 200 times or more since his rookie season, Miller ranks 3rd, just barely behind Cowboys tight end Jason Witten in that stat. During his 6 years in the league, Miller has started 90 of 96 regular season games and has been part of 3 teams that have gone to the Super Bowl and news flash, the Steelers won two of them.
As Walker points out in his blog post, Miller remains underrated as far as top tight ends in the league go. Miller is a model of consistency, a model teammate and a model tight end in the Steelers system. This is just another example of how little these power rankings mean and how you often times need to look at the entire body of work a player brings to the table as well as his consistency. One and two year wonders will always be around. I by no means think that Miller should be ranked overall number one on this list, but to to not have him in the top 10 in the NFL is foolish. I am glad he is on my side. I will never underrate him.