The evolution of the NFL tight end has changed drastically since the days of Mike Ditka and Kellen Winslow Sr. Teams deploy tight ends more as wide receivers than a player who can both block and catch the ball.
Typical NFL offenses have the tight ends that block, and their pass catching tight ends, but rarely are teams able to deploy an end that can do both. The Pittsburgh Steelers are lucky to have one of those tight ends in Heath Miller, and it isn't just the fans that notice.
Ben Roethlisberger put it best in an interview with Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "I've always said that Heath is the best all-around tight end in the league."
High praise from the person who has played along Miller for almost a decade now, but you don't expect anything but praise from Roethlisberger's personal safety valve.
What makes Miller one of the best, if not the best, overall tight end in the NFL? Simple. His exceptional hands and his ability to still set the edge and run block with the best of the blocking tight ends in the game. As successful as Miller has been in his time with the Steelers, he is experiencing foreign waters as he feels he is finally recovered from his devastating knee injury in the season finale of the 2012 season.
"Last year was the first year I haven't been able to prepare for a season with these [OTAs] practices, and they're certainly beneficial - to me, anyway - to be out here to work on your technique," "It's hard to simulate football activity without doing football." Miller told Robinson.
With a clean bill of health,and a fresh mindset to boot, Miller looks prepared to prove Roethlisberger's words to be correct as he sets out to continue what has already been a stellar career as a 'throwback' tight end.