Von Miller, the Denver Broncos' second overall pick in the NFL Draft and clearly one of the best defensive rookies to come along in quite some time, has a hero he's thinking of when he's rushing the passer: Derrick Thomas. The former Kansas City Chiefs defensive hero was an elite pass rusher in the NFL who made the Hall of Fame for his incredible ability to get to the passer. Miller embodies the same ability and spirit.
"Only one player accrued more than 9.5 sacks during his first 10 games as a pro, and it's superstar Bears end Julius Peppers, who picked up 11 in 10 games and finished his rookie year with 12 sacks," writes Grantland's Bill Barnwell. "And only one player matched that 9.5-sack figure in his first 10 games. That defender is late Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas, who Miller has patterned himself after as a player. Miller even wears Thomas' no. 58 in the Hall of Famer's honor. It's impossible to predict what a player will do in his career after 10 games, but so far Miller's been living up to the example Thomas set as a player."
Thomas had 10 sacks as a rookie and 20 as a second year player. He finished his career with 126.5 sacks. The Broncos can only hope Miller approaches such a number.