This past week, the NFL Network kicked off their annual show that lists the league’s top 100 players. Ranked at number 97 was Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller. This is the first time the eight-year veteran has been on the top 100 list in the league’s three years of ranking the best players.
During the 2012 season, Miller’s 816 receiving yards and eight touchdowns were career-highs, and he led the Steelers in touchdowns and receptions. His performance from this past season not only earned him a spot on the top 100, but it also earned him his second-career Pro Bowl selection.
Since entering the league in 2005, Miller has quietly been one of the most reliable tight ends in the NFL. Being overshadowed by Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, and Vernon Davis, people tend to forget that Miller has a total of 39 career touchdowns. Furthermore, during his eight years in Pittsburgh, he has only missed five games.
If anyone can tell you how good a player Miller is, it would be Ben Roethlisberger. Miller was Roethlisberger’s security blanket all last season, and was a huge part in keeping the Steelers in the playoff hunt. The possibility of Miller not playing at the start of the 2013 season will definitely have an effect on Pittsburgh’s offense.
Some may view being ranked at No. 97 as somewhat of an insult. However, I feel the simple fact that other NFL players are finally recognizing Miller is a great thing, especially since Miller is more of a traditional tight end and not one of these 21st century hybrid tight ends that runs faster than most wide receivers. In addition to Miller’s receiving skills, his blocking skills can be considered one of the best in the league.
Along with Miller on the first show of the top 100 countdown was fellow teammate Troy Polamalu, who was ranked No. 91. Last season, Polamalu was voted as the 19th best player in the league. Unfortunately, his injury-plagued 2012 season resulted in the gargantuan fall in the rankings.
With two Steelers already on the list, I predict that probably two more will be revealed within the coming weeks.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google