Denver Broncos' outside linebacker Von Miller entered the NFL in 2011 as one of the more coveted defensive players in recent memory. After 11.5 sacks and three forced fumbles during his rookie campaign, he did not disappoint.
The question—common among all second-year players—was whether or not Miller would build off his early production, or take a step back in 2012. Through the season's first eight games, the pass-rusher has tallied nine sacks.
Miller has clearly shed any notion of a sophomore slump. The question, now, is whether or not he can be considered among the NFL's best at getting to the opposing quarterback.
With Elvis Dumervil wreaking havoc on his opposite side, Miller takes advantage of one-on-one matchups often. On pace for 18 sacks this season, he is obviously forcing himself into the discussion of being the league's best pass-rusher.
How many sacks will Von Miller finish the 2012 season with?
Though there are players with bigger sack totals and a longer track record than Miller, there may not be a better specialist in the NFL.
Houston Texans' defensive end J.J. Watt might be the league's most complete defender and Dallas Cowboys' linebacker DeMarcus Ware has been productive for a very long time. However, when you factor in Miller's production thus far and his trajectory, you have a guy that has the makings of being the best of the bunch.
Miller's three-sack performance in Sunday's 31-23 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals is just a glimpse of what he is capable of doing in this league.
What is scary for opposing quarterbacks, though, is that the Broncos have a very favorable schedule the rest of the way. Denver should have plenty of leads in the second half of games, forcing its opponents into calling more passing plays.
This will only bode well for Miller, whose primary job is to sack the quarterback.