Von Miller, like any NFL player, watches tons of film to prepare for what's to come. But the one clip he keeps coming back to—one that he watches not to prepare, but to remember what's already passed—is the video of when he was drafted in 2012 by the Broncos.
"I probably watch that YouTube video, I don't know — I watch it every now and then," Miller said. "It really helps me humble myself and it really helps me put my priorities in order."
In a way, it helps keep Miller grounded. The look back offers a view of where he began, where his life took perhaps its biggest leap and changed him forever. It offers a chance to remember the feelings that coursed through him and his family, too, who joined him on stage when the Broncos selected him.
"...I want to bring those emotions back," he added. "I like watching that YouTube video of me and the emotions that I had with my family and what my mindset was. I like watching it all the time and it's the time of year where the NFL is going to change hundreds of young men's lives and not only their lives, but their family's lives."
Von Miller ripped the ball out of Jeremy Hill's hands in a stunning defensive play on Monday night.
The scope on that day is limited to a matter of just being drafted, a culmination of hard work over years of development. Of course it's not simply reaching a summit as much as doing so while beginning a new climb at the same time, but the benchmark allows for not needing to focus on the future at that moment. For these players, the future is now.
"On the day I got drafted, it was just nothing more important than just going out there and competing," Miller said. "It wasn't even about the Super Bowl back then. It was about getting on a team, trying to be the best player I could possibly be."
Eventually he proved himself to be one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL, earning three Pro Bowl selections, a First-Team All-Pro selection and a number of other accolades.
But it didn't have to follow that path. He could have left Texas A&M University early and been drafted later. He could have reacted poorly to the challenges he faced in his first season as an Aggie when coach Mike Sherman suspended Miller for academic and practice reasons. He could have transferred somewhere else and gone down a completely different route.
But he didn't. Miller responded to the suspension by devoting himself to work harder in the classroom and on the field. He stuck with the Aggies through a role in his sophomore season that didn't accentuate his pass-rushing skill set and found the position that suited him well as a junior, leading to an NCAA-leading 17-sack season. He returned for his senior season and in spite of nagging ankle injury in the beginning of the season, Miller finished with 10.5 sacks and earned honors as a First-Team All-American and the Butkus Award's selection as the nation's best linebacker.
From there Miller continued to wow scouts. An outstanding Senior Bowl performance got their mouths drooling and then with all the football talent they needed to see on tape, Miller headed to the Scouting Combine.
"I was excited about everything. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Miller said. "...Some guys [are] like 'man, I'm not looking forward to the meetings or not being able to sleep.' I really don't sleep a lot anyway so five hours for me was plenty. And just going out there and competing, it was a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity. It was the biggest job interview of my life and I was excited for it. I was well-prepped for it and I took advantage of the opportunity when it presented itself."
Miller said for whatever came up on his plate—be it the 40-yard dash or an interview—he was focused on giving it the best he could. He prepared for it all as much as he could and pretty clearly made an impact as he would eventually become the No. 2 overall pick.
In just a day, a new class of players to make their memories and begin their journeys in the NFL and the potential for franchise-changing picks make for an exciting time for fans, players and executives alike.
"It's a great time of the year. It's always excited to see guys get drafted, to see the new guys coming up and it's always exciting to see what they're going to do when they come into the league."