With summer arrives excitement. For the Oakland Raiders, summer brings the chance for opportunity. As a result, young players must step forward and grab attention. Eddie Vanderdoes, Arden Key, and Kolton Miller possess the chance to capture the interest of coaches and fans alike. FPC Raiders writers Ray Aspuria and Pete Camarillo share insight.
How would you integrate Arden Key into the defense and why?
In year one and two, give Key the Lance Johnston role of pure pass rusher. Bring him on obvious passing downs and let him pin his ears back and go for broke. The ability to sprinkle him in will not allow offensive lineman to be accustomed to the speed and bend he brings from the edge.
Arden Key should never leave B.I.’s site. They both entered the league with some question marks and maybe Irvin can teach Key to overcome those as he did. Either way, the Raiders should use Key as a situation pass rusher. He needs work with his hands but he has the play speed and instincts to develop into something nice. If the Raiders interior pass rush develops, Key could see himself in many on on ones. He can use his explosiveness and length to get around the corner and make some plays on the QB, especially if he doesn’t have to worry about dropping into coverage or facing double teams in year one
Can you explain the overwhelming negative view of Kolton Miller, in depth?
RaiderNation was desperate for a playmaker in the first round of the draft and they got Kolton Miller instead. Miller’s lack of ability to contribute and change games immediately is part of the reason why he gets many negative reviews. The tackle is more potential than polish now.
Added, Miller’s negative connotation has a lot to do with his team. Not only did UCLA vastly underachieve every year he was there, but also top QB Josh Rosen was always hurt. That is not all on Miller but he is responsible for his QB’s backside. The Bruins were not a physical running team that could finish games either. Miller is more athlete than bruiser, which does not make him a natural fit on the nasty o-line that currently resides in Oakland.
The notion that keeps circulating is Josh Rosen “had to scramble for his life” with Miller blocking his blindside. That was strike one. The other major contributing factor was a weaker-than-normal offensive tackle class. The other popular knock on Miller is in a tackle-heavy draft class, he would be a second rounder, and because of the lack of quality, he became the 15th overall pick. Personally, I could care less where a player is taken. I am more interested in the ability of the coaching staff in developing the player.
What can Vanderdoes do to avoid becoming Jihad Ward?
Be a force against the run all season. Vanderdoes showed the ability to clog and disrupt the oppositions run game early in his rookie year before tailing off and tearing an ACL. If he becomes a nuisance to the opponents, he will already have done more than Ward ever accomplished as a Raider.
Vanderdoes has to get healthy, first and foremost. He will need to use his hands better if he wants to get some reps at nose tackle. Vanderdoes will also need to prove he can rush the passer from the interior. Oakland will play the best interior rushers and EV will need to prove he can do that consistently and maintain discipline versus the run if he wants to stay in the rotation. Now, he faces an uphill battle since the Raiders have multiple bodies at the position.