Zach Miller and John Beck starred at local high schools, moved on to high-powered offenses in college and hired the same agent, so it was fitting that their NFL dreams came true within two draft picks of one another.
Miller, an Arizona State tight end and Phoenix Desert Vista High graduate, on Saturday was chosen by the Oakland Raiders in the second round (38th overall selection). At No. 40, Beck, a Brigham Young q u a r t e rb ac k who attended Mesa Mountain View, was taken by the Miami Dolphins.
“There was a lot of excitement and nervousness,” Miller said of waiting to be drafted. “When it happened, it was big relief. I’ve made it to the NFL. I’ve got a new team, a new city. I’m ready to go.”
Newport Beach, Calif.-based agent David Dunn represents both players. His new clients have a chance to become impact players quickly.
Beck enters a Dolphins quarterback situation in limbo. Incumbent starter Daunte Culpepper has been slow to recover from knee surgery and is rumored to be on his way out, and the team has been trying to acquire 36-year-old Trent Green to be a stopgap.
Beck, a 6-foot-2, 215-pounder, threw for 6,448 yards and 59 touchdowns in two seasons as BYU’s starter.
“As soon as I get down (in Miami), I want to be a sponge and learn as much as I can,” Beck said. “There are some things with the quarterback that haven’t been resolved. But my main focus is to go down there and give it all I’ve got.”
Miller — whose father, Tom, turned 60 on Saturday — was taken by the Raiders after they traded down with the Cardinals, who originally held the 38th choice. He joins the West Coast offense of new head coach Lane Kiffin, who watched the tight end play for three seasons while an assistant coach at Pac-10 rival Southern California.
Also, Miller will be reunited with incumbent Raiders quarterback Andrew Walter, an ASU product. Oakland drafted Louisiana State quarterback JaMarcus Russell with the first overall selection on Saturday.
“(Kiffin) told me that he’s fired up to have me,” said Miller, a 6-foot-5, 259-pounder who caught 144 passes for 1,512 yards and 14 TDs at ASU.
“I talked to Andrew in January, and we joked about how funny it would be if we were back on the same team, and now they drafted a franchise guy too, so I’m not worried about the quarterback position there.”
The only other player with Arizona ties drafted on Saturday was Chris Henry, the University of Arizona running back who was chosen by the Tennessee Titans in the second round (50th overall).
Texas Tech wide receiver Joel Filani (Paradise Valley High), Texas center Lyle Sendlein (Scottsdale Chaparral) and UCLA defensive end Justin Hickman (Phoenix St. Mary’s) are the top local prospects for today’s draft session.