This one might be cheating a bit, as Jamir Miller tore his knee up in a preseason game. That should count. Technically anything that happens after the NFL Draft and before Week one of the regular season should count. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Count this, that is. Jamir Miller was by all accounts a bust. The 10th pick in the 1994 NFL Draft, Miller went to the Arizona Cardinals as one of the top picks in the draft, as well as one of the most celebrated players athletically speaking.
Miller failed in Arizona and eventually found himself in Cleveland where he resurrected his career. Through three years he averaged over 101 tackles a season and had a career-high 13 sacks in 2001. He became the first Browns player since the return of the franchise to represent the team in the Pro Bowl.
Then in the first preseason game of 2002 against the Minnesota Vikings, Miller ruptured his Achilles tendon. It would be the last time he’d ever put on football pads for the Cleveland Browns or any other NFL team. Miller was cut in early 2003 and retired soon after. The injury didn’t just devastate Miller, but the Browns defense as a whole. Without Miller, Mark Word became the team leader in sacks with only eight. He wasn’t even a starter. The defense was ranked 10th worst in the NFL for yards allowed and was the sixth-worst team in total sacks with only 28. Seven more than the Arizona Cardinals who had only 21 all year. The Philadelphia Eagles lead the league with 56.
For comparison, with Miller, the team was still ranked 21st in total defense (tenth worst) in 2001 but were ranked in the top ten in total sacks with 43. Miller had that much of an impact on the entire team.