The acquisition of Jason Campbell from the Redskins was Christmas-come-early for Raiders tight end Zach Miller this off-season.
Miller is strong, athletic, and quick enough to be a standout at the position. He has seen an increase in receptions and yards in each of his three seasons, topping out with 66 receptions and 805 yards last year leading the team in both categories.
With the majority of Miller’s career being held down by Jamarcus Russell’s incompetence and a relatively weak receiving core, his production is quite impressive.
Miller will benefit from both an improved O-line and a more rounded receiving core, but Campbell’s presence takes the cake. Campbell brings greater consistency to the Raiders and a tight end love affair reputation for Miller.
Even on a stagnant offense with limited protection, Campbell’s tight ends have not dipped under 700 yards in any of his full seasons at the helm. His completion percentage(64.5) last year was the highest of his career and is a glowing light in comparison to Russell’s abysmal 48.8%. Campbell also had career highs in yards and TD’s.
The main benefactor of Campbell’s services in Washington was TE Chris Cooley. Cooley missed most of last season with a broken ankle but had career highs in yards and receptions in ’08 as well as an eight TD tally in ’07. Cooley has been a reliable tight end for years now and Campbell is partially to thank.
In his limited preseason time, Miller has posted seven catches for 74 yards and a touchdown and according to Raider beat writer Steve Corkran, Campbell has already “latched on” to Miller and he will once again be the focal point of the passing game.
Miller’s most notable shortcoming has been his lack of red zone opportunities, only manufacturing seven total touchdowns in his three-year career. Coach Tom Cable has already made his intentions to target Miller in the red zone very clear and was noted as saying, “When you look at him, we have done a poor job of utilizing him in the red zone. So, if you just start right there, see where he would impact that part of the field, that would really raise his game to a whole new level.”
These tidbits come as no surprise, but it is good to see chemistry already taking place between the two. Campbell’s time with the Redskins helped him learn to work within himself and the tight end is often the safest go-to.
Fantasy Perspective: Miller is one of this year’s greatest draft steals. His average draft position on FantasyFootballToolbox.com puts him at 11th amongst tight ends which is preposterous if you consider his potential. He has been dropping into the 9th and 10th round in some drafts and he is one of the chief reasons why taking a tight end in the early rounds may not pay desired dividends. If Miller is able to improve in the TD category(which he will), he will undoubtedly be among the position’s elite.
Campbell’s arrival makes for an increased likelihood that Miller eclipses 70 catches this year, with a touchdown mark of around seven or eight being a safe bet.
About the Author
Written by Zachary Stanley
By the end of the fall I will have obtained a Bachelor's degree from Ithaca College. I have been blogging for quite some time and am greatly enjoying my various responsibilities in this field. I am currently a Feature Celtics Columnist and a Featured Sports Contributor for two different sites. I am also a couple weeks from opening up my new blog site, CelticsNotes.com.