Bills’ Most Important Players (not named Josh Allen) Entering 2023: #4 Von Miller


Last offseason, Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane told us Buffalo didn’t have the cap space to make a splashy move in free agency. He then proceeded to make a Billy Bob from Varsity Blues canon ball-sized splash by signing EDGE Von Miller.

While Miller was lost to an ACL tear in Week 12 in Detroit, his value to the Buffalo defense was made more obvious on and off the field. He took the Bills’ line under his wing, bringing several of them to his pass-rushing academy last summer. Miller was also the catalyst for a line that helped the Bills finish second in points per game allowed at 17.9 and sixth in yards per game against 319.1. They finished fourth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average).

Whether it is his intangibles or tangibles, Miller’s value to the Bills is immense. That’s why the Texas A/M product earned 28 of 60 possible points from our Cover 1 Crew, with @KyleSilagyi ranking him the highest at #1.

“The signing of Von Miller paid dividends for Buffalo throughout the first half of the 2022 season. He not only brought juice as a pass-rusher (eight sacks in 11 games) and run-defender, but opposing offensive lines often had to account for his presence with multiple blockers, opening up more opportunities for his fellow pass-rushers. Miller, however, tore his ACL in Week 12, and Buffalo’s defensive play noticeably worsened after his departure, especially in terms of pass-rush. Regardless of when Miller returns to the lineup, the Bills will likely be relying on him to drive the pass rush, something that will be paramount in January,” – @KyleSilagyi.

Bills’ Most Important Players (not named Josh Allen) Entering 2023: #5 Greg Rousseau

Counting Stats:

You have to take Miller’s box score stats with a grain of salt, and by salt, I mean understanding he played in 12 games, or roughly two-thirds of the schedule. Even with that knowledge, Miller still finished with eight sacks. His 33 hurries place him tied for 25th, and he’s tied for 27th in forced fumbles. If you extrapolate the sacks and hurries over 17 games, Miller moves up to 14th in sacks with 11.3 and tied for fourth with 47 hurries.


The better gauge for a player who missed a large chunk of the season is analytics. For that, we turn to Pro Football Focus (PFF) and Football Outsiders (FO). PFF gives Miller an 85.8 for his overall defensive grade, that puts him just inside the top 10. His 78.8 run defense grade is also just inside the top 10. Meanwhile, his 81.8 grade against the pass slots him at #15. Flipping to FO, they believe Miller was having one of the best seasons of his career. His -1.7 yards per play is the best of his career, even better than 2015 when he was a first-team All-Pro. They also gave Miller a 100% stop rate against the run. I don’t need to explain that perfect is about as good as you can get. 


“It’s not a question of if, but when Von Miller will see the field in 2023. When he does return, he will fall right back into his role as the “closer” for the Bills. The Bills needed a closer last season and will need one this season, deep into the playoffs,” @UberHansen.

Uber lays it out perfectly. Whether it is Von’s insane prediction that he will play Week 1 or after Week 6 (PUP list) when most of us expect him back, Miller will have an instant impact on Buffalo. 

“Miller would be higher on this list if not for his torn ACL. No matter what he’s said recently about his return timeline, we shouldn’t expect him back before the middle of the season, and that’s fine by me. Come back in the last third of the season and be the defensive difference maker that at least pushes the Bills into the Superbowl,” @LowBuffa.

I would fully expect him to be back playing roughly 60% of defensive snaps with a rotation of himself, Greg Rousseau, and Leonard Floyd leading the way at EDGE. Before his injury, Miller took the field on 61% of snaps in 2022. Lastly, an underrated aspect of Miller’s game is that he can play on either side of the line. In 2022, Miller took 262 snaps on the left side and 183 on the right. He spent the remainder of his 450 snaps on the interior.

Bills’ Most Important Players (not named Josh Allen) Entering 2023: #6 Kaiir Elam


Miller is a first-ballot hall-of-famer, and that is not up for debate. He is also the catalyst for a Bills line that can make an argument for one of the best in the league when at full strength. When Miller was on the field a season ago, he raised the level of Rousseau and Basham who were both graded as top 15 EDGE by PFF before the ACL. The Bills don’t need the former second-overall selection during the regular season. They need him to dominate in December, January, and early February.