We had so much fun doing our Countdown to Kickoff series last season that we decided to do it again. In case you’re new to the series, we’ll do a roster preview as we count down the days until the Chicago Bears September 7th season opener against the Buffalo Bills.
Yes, you are reading this correctly – #86 Zach Miller signs with the Bears! Well, not that Zach Miller of the Seahawks. The “other” Zach Miller, formerly of the Jaguars, will enter training camp wearing #86 and signifying only 86 days until the season opener. Miller was a 6th round selection in 2009 by Jacksonville and was cut by the Jaguars after the 2012 season. He was signed before the 2013 season by the Buccaneers, before eventually being released before the 2013 season began.
His pro career (45 rec, 470 yards, 4tds) has been a disappointment so far as injuries have devistated him throughout his 4 year career. He missed 12 games in 2011 and suffered a career ending injury on the 3rd snap of the Jaguars 2012 preseason. However, The 6’5” 236 lb. Miller possesses rare talent and is a tremendous athlete. He has great leaping ability, outstanding hands and was a star basketball player in highschool and a double sport athlete in college. If he can stay healthy, Miller can add some much needed depth to a position that has little behind starter Martellus Bennett. His competition for a roster spot at the tight end position consists of Donte Rosario, Fendi Onobun and Matthew Mulligan. We all know how basketball stars have transitioned into great NFL tight ends, so can Miller be the next Antonio Gates or Julius Thomas? Well, I think that’s a stretch, but I predict that Miller makes the team, especially if Onobun cannot shake his case of slippery hands. This is a very low risk investment for a player with a ton of upside, that could potentially turn into a high reward. Not to mention, I’m still waiting to see what the Bears like about Onobun.
No offense to Mr. Miller, but if reading about our 5th TE on the depth chart hasn’t satisfied you, take a look at some notable #86′s in Bears history below:
Marty Booker (1999-2003), Cap Boso (1987-91), Bob Parsons (1972-83), Bill Wightkin (1950-57), Lloyd Phillips (1967-69), Ed Meadows (1954-56), Brad Anderson (1984-85), Chris Penn (1997-98)
Be on the lookout for our Countdown to Kickoff series as we continue to work our way to the season opener on September 7th.