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New Orleans Saints rookie running back Kendre Miller eager to show what he can do

'How they use (Kamara) in the pass game, that's pretty cool. I feel like I can step in and pretty much do the same thing'

Gallery-rookie-minicamp-2023-day-2-05132023-52 (1)
Photos from New Orleans Saints Rookie Minicamp practice at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center on Saturday, May 13, 2023.

Running back Kendre Miller wasn't able to walk the walk at the New Orleans Saints' rookie minicamp last weekend.

The meniscus injury he suffered at TCU hadn't sufficiently healed to where the Saints felt the third-round pick (No. 71 overall) would benefit most from being involved in workouts May 12-14 with the other draft picks, undrafted rookies and tryout players. So he was on the sideline with a member of the training staff, working on conditioning drills while his classmates absorbed as much of the playbook as possible on the field.

But the interest in seeing Miller walk the walk was because everyone already has heard him talk the talk.

Not necessarily boastful winds; more, the confidence that comes along with knowing what he can do when he's healthy and has the opportunity.

So when Miller said on draft night that he respects Saints running back Alvin Kamara – a two-time All-Pro, five-time Pro Bowler who was Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2017 and is entering his seventh season tied for the franchise all-time lead in touchdowns with 72 – but that he intends to challenge for the running back spot, it drew some attention.

The attention he drew last Saturday mainly was because Miller, listed at 5 feet 11 and 220 pounds, looked even more formidable in person than his listed height and weight. And because he wasn't yet cleared to fully participate. He said he expects to be cleared for training camp.

"I've just been doing my technique, with steps and different things, while the other running backs are going," Miller said. "Just trying to get the mechanics down of the different footwork, how it was from college to now. Nothing too hard, but I'm just kind of getting it down.

"I feel great, but the doctors have got to kind of tone it down, be like, 'You're not ready for that now.' But that's just the competitiveness in me."

That competitiveness helped Miller become one of the top running backs in the nation in his third and final season at TCU, when he ran for 1,399 yards and 17 touchdowns on 224 carries.

"I like the player, I like his downhill running style," Coach Dennis Allen said. "I think he's got really good feet, I think he's got really good contact balance. And he's got the speed to take it the distance if he breaks free in the open field, so there's a lot of qualities about him that I like.

"And look, I don't know that they used him as much out of the backfield at TCU, but I think he's got that skill set."

Miller caught 16 passes for 116 yards in his final season with the Horned Frogs, and totaled 29 catches for 229 yards and a touchdown in three seasons. There's more meat on that bone, Miller said.

"It was something I never got to show," he said. "The coaches here, they've got me on the Jugs (machine) and the tennis ball machines. They were like, we knew it was in you, that's why we drafted you, we know you can catch. Just showing everybody else in the world my ability will be a big thing for me, and I'm ready to get out there and compete.

"How they use (Kamara, who has 430 career receptions) is kind of unique, and watching film every day, we watch a bunch of clips of him. How they use him in the pass game, that's pretty cool. I feel like I can step in and pretty much do the same thing."

Miller has the talk down pat.

Soon, he'll begin his professional walk as a Saint to prove if the latter matches up to the former.

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