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Boston Herald
Boston Herald
29 Apr 2023
Tribune News Service


NextImg:Gators NFL draft tracker: LB Ventrell Miller headed to Jacksonville Jaguars

Florida linebacker Ventrell Miller is staying close to home after the Lakeland native spent the past six years in Gainesville with the Gators.

The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Miller No. 121 overall during the NFL draft’s fourth round, allowing the 24-year-old to play before a fan base well familiar with his hard-hitting style, physical toughness and production at UF.

“It feels good … being in my backyard,” he said. “It ain’t bad, definitely excited.”

Miller also was relieved.

December surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot kept him out of the Senior Bowl, the Scouting Combine and Florida’s Pro Day.

Since he was unable to go through the draft process, Miller did not expect to hear his name called so early. Some pundits predicted he would be an undrafted free agent.

“I was surprised a little bit, knowing I didn’t do anything,” he said. “When they called me, they told me they skipped up some picks to get me. I didn’t know where I was going to go.”

Miller suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot Sept. 10 during the second half against Kentucky. After sitting out a week later against USF, he played the rest of the season with the injury.

“I was leaving it all out there on the field,” he said.

Miller ended the season with 74 tackles, 8.5 for loss. During an Oct. 8 homecoming win against Missouri, he compiled 11 tackles, 10 of them solo stops, and had a quarterback hurry on fourth down to seal the Gators’ 24-17 win.

Miller’s finished his career with 240 tackles, a level of production and playing style the Jags did not want to pass up.

“They like my playing type — really physical, runs to the ball,” he said.

The 6-foot, 232-pound Miller will open his career as a back-up and special teams contributor. The Jags drafted inside linebacker Devin Lloyd and Chad Muma, believing the duo is the future at the position. But Miller will receive the opportunity to compete and is ready to do so after doctors recently cleared him.

“Really pretty much healed up,” he said. “I’ve been running, cutting, I feel good.”

This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Edgar Thompson at egthompson@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on Twitter at @osgators.

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