A two-time Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year, Bruce Miller’s career numbers at Central Florida are impressive: 57.5 tackles for loss, 35.5 sacks and six forced fumbles.
Interestingly, the 49ers won’t be asking their seventh-round draft pick to do any of that defensive stuff in the NFL.
San Francisco took the 6-foot-1, 245-pound Miller with the 211th overall pick today and told the former defensive end that he would be playing fullback.
Miller, who lacks the size and speed to play defensive end in the NFL, worked out with the fullbacks and tight ends at Central Florida’s pro day. He also worked out at linebacker. In a conversation with Niners running backs coach Tom Rathman shortly before the draft, he learned San Francisco was interested in him as a fullback, a position he’s never played before. He was not aware of any other teams that projected him at fullback.
“I am kind of shocked,” Miller said. “It was kind of hard for me to believe that I was going to have a chance to play linebacker. That was a little bit more realistic than fullback. So I’m pretty shocked that I got the opportunity to play as a fullback. However, they did say that I’d come in and hopefully get comfortable at the position and maybe in a little while we could try some rush on the defensive side.”
Miller won back-to-back conference player of the year honors by posting 21.5 sacks in his final two seasons at UCF. He posted at least seven sacks in each of his four seasons.
His aggressiveness and hard-nosed approach figure to translate over to offense, he said.
“When I worked out there they did like the way that I was running around, moving around,” Miller said. “They said they wanted to bring someone in who was tough and could bring a hit every play. And I think I could fit that description pretty well.”
Fullback. Defensive end. Linebacker. Whatever.
Miller is thrilled to have a chance to keep playing.
“I’m just ready to get out to San Francisco and play some football,” he said.