Cowboys future focus: RB Lonyae Miller


Position: Running back

Height: 6-0. Weight: 221

College: Fresno State

How acquired: Undrafted free agent, 2010

What he did in 2010: Miller, who backed up San Diego first-round pick Ryan Mathews in college, spent most of the season on the Cowboys’ practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster in December, when Marion Barber missed games because of a strained calf. Miller didn’t play a down on offense, but he proved that he could be a solid contributor on special teams. Miller’s most memorable moment came when he recovered teammate Bryan McCann’s fumble on a kickoff return in the win over the Colts, which was Miller’s NFL debut. Coach Jason Garrett, who gave Miller “attaboy” recognition for that game, praised him for his hustle and called it the most significant play in the game.

What to look for in 2011: Miller’s ticket to the 53-man roster will come on special teams. Owner/general manager Jerry Jones has made it clear that he wants his third running back to be a strong special teams player. Marion Barber is likely to be released, so it’s likely that Miller will enter training camp as the favorite for the third running back job. He’s not likely to figure prominently into the Cowboys’ offensive plans, but they are intrigued by his combination of strength and speed.

Bryan Broaddus’ Scout’s Eye: The Cowboys were looking for that third back who could play special teams. Lonyae Miller showed well enough on special teams to be that back. He showed enough on the practice squad. Obviously, Joe DeCamillis thought he was tough enough to do it. That’s where he found his niche. He was tough enough and reliable enough and wasn’t going to make any mistakes. They’re going to have to see if he can be a running back. They have an idea that he can be the special teams guy they need, but can they draft a back who can play special teams and be a better running back? Is it more important for them to have a better runner or a better special teams player?