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Running Back Steven Miller Has Chance to Make Impact with Detroit Lions

May 28th, 2013 at 10:58 AM
By Max DeMara

Forever, Detroit Lions fans have been clamoring for a smaller, speedy, shifty running back who can change the game with his legs, particularly while on special teams. Think Darren Sproles part two.

'Appalachian State takes down TN-Chattanooga' photo (c) 2007, Jamie Williams - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

However, with Sproles tied up playing for the New Orleans Saints and players in his mold often times incredibly hard to find, securing such an athlete has been the biggest obstacle for the Lions. In rookie Steven Miller from Appalachian State, though, they seem to have finally found their man, mentally and physically.

Only 5'7'' and 172 pounds, Miller could easily get lost in a pile as quick as he was overlooked by football scouts, other than those for the Mountaineers. For the Lions, that's good news. With Mikel Leshoure, Reggie Bush and Joique Bell in the fold, they don't need Miller to be an every down back. Instead, they can use him in the screen game out of the backfield for a stunning change of pace.

Then, there's the matter of special teams. The Lions passed on signing Josh Cribbs and other veteran difference makers perhaps because of Miller's influence. Not only is Miller a perfect fit on special teams given his size, speed and jumping ability, he also has the proper mindset to be an unsung hero for that group.

"They are going to see a player that is going to give 200 percent, no matter," Miller said. I know I am going to make mistakes. I understand that. But I am going to bounce back regardless of what happens.

Coming off last season's lunacy, that's the infectious attitude this team needs. To paraphrase a John Fogerty song, "put me in coach, I'm ready to play." Miller just wants on the field. Where he ends up playing seems to be of no consequence, meaning he's got the right tools to succeed on special teams. Miller was never coddled, fighting just to play college football and impress scouts, who were often turned off by his size. There's something to be said for that.

Give a hard worker like Miller an inch and he'll take a mile. During camp and the preseason, watch him the closest on kickoffs, punts and even at running back. There's always a place for a fiery competitor on a football team, especially when they want to be there. That's precisely the attitude that Miller could bring to the Lions.

Quite frankly, that's a breath of fresh air for this team. For mindset alone, the Lions should try hard to work him into the fold.

Max DeMara is the managing editor of Lions 101. You can find him on his personal Twitter account @SportsGuyTheMax or on this site's Twitter @detroitlions101

Tags: Darren Sproles, Detroit, Detroit Lions, Football, Joique Bell, Mikel Leshoure, NFL, Reggie Bush, Steven Miller

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