Posted Wed May 23rd by Jon Heath
Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller, the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year, was named the 52nd-best player in the NFL by NFL Network (NFLN) on Wednesday. The Top 100 Players of 2012 has been airing on the network since April, revealing the top 100 players in the league, as voted by the players.
Miller is the third Bronco to make the list, joining defensive end Elvis Dumervil (68th) and running back Willis McGahee (98th). Cornerback Champ Bailey and possibly quarterback Peyton Manning are also expected to make the cut, which would give Denver five players in the NFL’s Top 100.
This year, Miller is looking to improve on his 64 tackle, 11.5 sack season, who has become just the second Bronco in franchise history to be selected to the Pro Bowl as a rookie. ”(Von) has been working his butt off this offseason,” Dumervil informed the media after practice on Wednesday. ”I can’t wait to see the kind of jump he can (make in his second season).”
“His ability to bend his body, his speed, combined with power — it’s… you just don’t see that,” Bailey remarked. ”He’ll probably make the Pro Bowl (every season) for the rest of his career,” added left tackle Ryan Clady.
“It’s just rare — (seeing) that speed from a guy his size (6′-3″, 245 pounds),” concluded Bailey. His teammates and opponents recognize him as one of the best outside linebackers in the league, but Miller still wants to improve.
“I’m not a rookie anymore. I want to start to play like a vet,” said Miller. “I want to cut down on all the mental errors I had (last season). I just want to be in the spots that my teammates expect me to be in for crunch‐time situations.”
In addition to being ranked among the NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2012, it was also announced on Wednesday that Miller will be recognized at the 37th annual Athlete of the Year awards banquet by The Denver Athletic Club in June. Miller will receive top honors as the Denver Athletic Club 2012 Colorado Athlete of the Year. The award recognizes a professional Colorado athlete who has made significant contributions on the field and in the community.
“It just shows the type of teammates and the type of team and the type of season that we had last year,” an honored, yet humble Miller said. ”I certainly couldn’t have done it by myself. Coach Smith, he had a huge part in helping me come a long as a linebacker and as a football player. Whenever you get individual accolades, there’s always an outside catalyst that made that happen—my teammates and Coach Smith.”
Congrats, Von! He is definitely deserving of all the accolades he has been awarded. It will be exciting to watch him improve during his sophomore season.