Three of the top edge rushers in the 2018 draft class compared themselves to Denver's Von Miller.
Miller, drafted second overall by the Broncos in 2011, is a six-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro and helped the Broncos defeat the Panthers in Super Bowl 50, garnering MVP honors in the title game.
While he's arguably one of the best, the number of high-level edge rushers across the league makes it interesting that Miller was the most-mentioned comparison among the top prospects at NFL Scouting Combine.
Before participating in on-field drills that will come Sunday, the defensive ends engaged with the media in Indianapolis Saturday. Among them were Bradley Chubb (N.C. State) and Marcus Davenport (Texas-San Antonio), who were ranked as the first- and second-best edge rushers in the position group by NFL Media analysts Mike Mayock and Bucky Brooks, respectively.
Chubb said he tries to take Miller and Khalil Mack "and put them into one person" to emulate on the field.
"Khalil Mack's a more powerful guy, probably the best long arm in the game right now," Chubb said. "Von Miller's the speed/finesse guy. Just try to put both those together, have some power moves, have some speed moves that I go to."
Upon the suggestion that Chubb could be a target for the Broncos, who currently hold the fifth overall pick, he said it would be "crazy" if he could call Miller a teammate.
"He's such a great player, such a dynamic player – definitely could learn a lot from him," Chubb said.
The former N.C. State standout emphasized the impact that a talented edge rusher can make in a game. He shared his philosophy when he takes the field.
"If a team doesn't have a quarterback, they don't really have anything. My job is to get after one of the best players on the field, one of the highest-paid players on the field. It changes the dynamics of the game," Chubb said. "You see in the Super Bowl, sack-caused-fumble ends the game. Take it back to when the Broncos won, Von Miller just going crazy in that game – Super Bowl MVP of that game.
"This position is such a priority and such a premium in this league because you're getting after one of the most important positions," Chubb added.
Davenport, who attended the same school as Vikings tight end David Morgan, gave a "shout out" to Miller and Ndamukong Suh for acting as mentors for him during this process.
When asked who he most compares his own game to, Davenport said he takes attributes from Miller, Jacksonville's Calais Campbell and Houston's J.J. Watt.
Another rusher who has been compared to Miller is Harold Landry (Boston College), whom Mayock ranked fourth on his list.
"Even to be mentioned in the same conversation as Von is an incredible honor," Landry said. "Von's ability to bend and just how versatile he is. He can do whatever his coaches ask him to do — drop into coverage, cover tight ends man-on-man and his ability to bend the corner."
Here are some other highlights from media sessions with edge rusher prospects:
Bradley Chubb, N.C. State
Pre-combine draft rankings: Brooks 1 (DE), Mayock 1 (among edge rushers)
Chubb is a confident player, claiming to be the best of the best, but he also emphasized the importance of being surrounded by a supporting cast.
He pointed to the team aspect of football as his favorite part of the sport.
"I love how one person can't be great unless the whole team's great, if that makes sense. Of course I can make plays here and there, just make plays," Chubb said. "But I can't do that unless my D-tackle and my nose tackle are eating up blocks and letting (me) go free. Everybody has to work together in order for one person to have success."
Chubb also was asked a unique question during his podium session: What play from college best represents you?
He pointed back to the game against Florida State, in which the Wolfpack defeated the Seminoles 27-21.
"There was a play where I ran down a couple of yards just to punch the ball out. If you watch the whole play, I was tied up with a guard and he hit my gap and I was like, 'Man, that's mine, I know that.' I had to shed that guard real quick, turn around and find out where he was," Chubb explained. He did a nice little spin move on the safety, and I was like, 'Man, I can't let my dog go out like that.' Went in, tomahawk-chopped it down and got the ball out for my team."
Sam Hubbard, Ohio State
Pre-combine draft rankings:Brooks 3 (DE), Mayock 5 (among edge rushers)
Hubbard has been projected in mock drafts to go somewhere near the end of the first round or beginning of the second round.
When asked how much weight he places in having that "first-round pick" designation, Hubbard said it's more important to perform well for whatever team gives him an opportunity.
"I'm doing everything in my power to make sure I go the first night of the draft, showing teams why they want me on their team, how much value I can provide," Hubbard said. "But if] it doesn't work out, I'll be ready to give whatever team does decide to pick me up everything I've got. I'm not too worried about when I go. It's all about where I go."
Hubbard emphasized that his versatility will benefit an NFL team and said that he can excel whether the team's base defense is 3-4 or 4-3.
"A lot of teams have different opinions on where I should play," Hubbard said. "Obviously, I'll play anywhere and do any job I'm asked. I can play a 4-3 base end, a 3-4 outside backer, a 3-4 5-technique, 4-technique. I can really do it all. I think that's another thing I provide value in, is multiple positions."
Arden Key, LSU
Pre-combine draft rankings:Brooks 5 (DE), Mayock 3 (among edge rushers)
Key was a standout in LSU's base 3-4 defense, but he told media members on Saturday that he has no hesitation about playing defensive end in a 4-3.
"I'll fit right in. You watch tape, most of my pass rushes are out of a three-point stance," Key said. "I like to rush out of a three-point stance. I can drop because I can. I can do it, but I don't want to. I'm a pass rusher. I want to rush the quarterback."
As an edge rusher, Key said his favorite part of film study is studying the offensive linemen and specifically focusing on how the tackle operates.
"The tackle, is he a three-step puncher, is he a two-step puncher? Does he overset? Is he a horizontal pass blocker, or is his weight over his quads?" Key said. "Different things to read the offensive tackle so I know what moves I can use to set."
Harold Landry, Boston College
Pre-combine draft rankings:Brooks 2 (OLB), Mayock 4 (among edge rushers)
On becoming a father at a young age: "I would say my motivation for why I play the game has definitely changed over time. Before I just wanted to be the best. Now having a son, finding out I was having a son my junior year [around the] Clemson game, it has definitely changed my [outlook]. … I no longer am just trying to be the best or just trying to provide for myself. Now I have to make sure I set my son up for the future. I want to make sure my son is able to go to his classes in Kindergarten or whatever and be able to say, 'That is my dad.' Like he is proud that I am his father. That is going to be the greatest feeling to me, and I plan on making sure that stuff happens for him."