Old Town native and former University of Maine football player Andre Miller competes in the school's annual Pro Day at Orono on Monday, April 4, 2022. Credit: UMaine Athletics / UMaine Athletics

The days of the big, beefy blocking tight ends are over.

At least, that’s what former NFL tight end and Howland native Matt Mulligan believes.

And that might be what lands former University of Maine wide receiver and Old Town native Andre Miller a spot on the New York Giants — as a tight end.

The 6-foot-3 Miller — who signed a free agent contract with the Giants — was 224 pounds this past season, 19 pounds lighter than the next lightest tight end on the roster, Ricky Seals-Jones. But those with insight into Miller’s training and skill sets believe he has a legitimate chance to earn a spot as a hybrid tight end-wide receiver on the Giants’ 53-man roster as he reports this week to rookie training camp in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

“I think he has a great chance, to be honest,” said Mulligan, who has been involved with Miller’s training for two years — first as a sports performance coach at UMaine and now a physical trainer out on his own.

“His athleticism, ball skills and route-running are tremendous assets for him,” Mulligan said.

The traditional big tight ends have been replaced by versatile, athletic players who can run a variety of routes — including deep ones — and block, Mulligan said.

UMaine offensive coordinator Andrew Dresner agreed.

“He has a great chance. He has a unique skill set,” Dresner said. “Every scout who saw him play last year was impressed with his length, his big hands and that he could jump out of the gym.”

Mulligan and Dresner both said the fact the new Giants coaching staff signed him and laid out a blueprint for him where he can make the conversion to a tight end-wide receiver hybrid shows that the Giants have a lot of interest in him.

“If they didn’t see any potential in him, they wouldn’t be trying to mold him [into a tight end-wide receiver hybrid],” Mulligan said.

Miller has gained some weight and is in the 230-pound range, according to Dresner.

The first full practice for the Giants with veterans and rookies will be on Wednesday, July 27. There are seven tight ends on the roster, including four rookies.

Both Dresner and Mulligan said they expect Miller to be an asset on special teams.

“He has great strength and explosiveness, and that’s what it takes to be successful on special teams. You are one-on-one against a guy, and Dre would hold up well,” Mulligan said.

Miller provides a difficult matchup for opponents, Mulligan said. His speed will enable him to get separation against a linebacker or a defensive end so that they may drop out into the flats, and Miller’s size, wingspan and leaping ability will create issues for cornerbacks and safeties.

“And the NFL game is now at least 70 percent passing,” Mulligan noted.

“Dre is a playmaker, and that is what they expect him to do,” said Mulligan, who graduated from Penobscot Valley High School in Howland, which didn’t have football, before going on to play at Bangor’s Husson University and at UMaine and then the NFL.

He played in 89 regular season games for seven NFL teams and had 18 catches for 170 yards and two touchdowns. He also had two receptions for four yards in seven playoff games.

Dresner credits Miller’s outstanding performance at Pro Day in the Mahaney Dome on the UMaine campus in Orono, which involved a number of physical tests, with helping him land a contract.

The compilation of his results produced a relative athletic score of 9.6. The highest score a player can receive is a 10.0.

Miller, who spent one season at Husson before transferring to UMaine, finished his career with 104 receptions for 1,848 yards at UMaine. He averaged 17.8 yards per catch and he is 14th on the school’s all-time receiving list.

He had 39 receptions for 684 yards last fall, both career-highs, despite missing two games with a hamstring pull.

He was a second team All-Colonial Athletic Association selection after being a first team choice during the abbreviated spring season.

Mulligan said Miller’s determination, attitude and tireless work ethic will be a big plus for him.

“He never says no and always gives everything he has,” Mulligan said. “He never quits. He will work his tail off and no matter what you ask him to do, he will do it to the best of his ability. And he is hard-nosed.”