Memphis receiver Anthony Miller was surprised that the Bears selected him in the draft because he said they didn't have a lot of contact with him during the pre-draft process.
But Miller was flattered that the Bears traded up to take him. General manager Ryan Pace dealt a fourth-round pick (No. 105) and a 2019 second-round choice to the New England Patriots to move up to the 51st slot in the second round to grab the Memphis native.
"It means a lot," Miller said during a conference call with Chicago reporters. "It shows that they really wanted me. They believed in me and I'm going to prove everybody who passed me up wrong. The Bears are going to get all I've got. They're going to get the 'Memphis Grind.' I don't think they've seen that yet, but I'm going to introduce them to it."
So what exactly is the "Memphis Grind?"
"That Memphis Grind is like one of a kind," Miller said. "This area, there's not a lot going on around here. People have got to work for everything they've got. Nobody is put over anybody as far as status. In order to get respect, you've got to work for it. You've got to grind for it. You've got to put in time. I believe I get a lot of respect around here because I didn't ask for any handouts. I just came to work every day and put it in. It's all paying off for me."
That mentality helped Miller win the offensive scout team player of the year award when he was a redshirt freshman at Memphis in 2013.
With the 51st pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears select Memphis WR Anthony Miller.
"I always knew I was capable of making plays and being able to compete at the Division I level, so whenever I got my chance to shine out there on that field—whether it be the practice field or in a game—I was going to give 100 percent," Miller said.
"I'd say it's paid off. I went in the second round. That's pretty hard to do. I'm in that small fraternity of guys that actually made it, so I'm just blessed."
After redshirting as a freshman at Memphis in 2013 and missing the entire 2014 season with a shoulder injury, Miller blossomed, catching 238 passes for 3,590 yards and 37 touchdowns over his final three years. The 5-11, 201-pounder had 95 receptions for 1,434 yards and 14 TDs in 2016 and 96 catches for 1,462 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2017. He set school records in all three categories in 2016 and eclipsed the marks in 2017.
"Really how I describe my game, I'm more than a receiver," Miller said. "But I have all the capabilities of a receiver. I can run, catch the ball. I would call it a 10 out of 10. I have great hands and I'm also physical, which a lot of people don't know about me. My passion for the game I think is just unmatched, especially at the position I play."
Miller's confidence was evident when he was asked which NFL receiver he compares himself to.
"Most would compare me to Antonio Brown or a Steve Smith-like receiver, but I want to be my own guy," he said. "I'm Anthony Miller at the end of the day. I don't want to be compared to anyone. I believe I have attributes and skills that a lot of players could say they have, but I don't think there's one thing that I can't do. I believe I'm just a different type of receiver, all in one, and someday guys are going to be like, 'Oh, you play like Anthony Miller' because I believe I'm a one-of-a-kind type of guy."
While Miller was surprised he landed in Chicago, he's happy that the Bears picked him.
"I honestly didn't know that they were going to [draft] me," Miller said. "But I'm blessed that they did because I was waiting on somebody to call me and I'm glad they did. As far as Mitch Trubisky goes, I know that he was a great quarterback as far as college goes and I know that he has a lot of potential in this league and I can't wait to partner up with him and just make a whole lot of plays. I'm ready."