With the 2019 season on the horizon, the Oakland Raiders possess many positive attributes. From the addition of Antonio Brown to seeing Derek Carr’s second year in the scheme, Oakland can boast positive. Yet, to me, there’s one major issue that remains. Kolton Miller needs to make a quantum leap in this year. If not, the Raiders could struggle.
While the Raiders drafting Kolton Miller over Derwin James irritated me, time elapsed. He’s a Raiders and bemoaning his selection at fifteen felt pointless. With that said, I watched the 2018 season with a clear eye. Granted, erasing the visual of the Memphis pass rush destroying him in college, took some time. Yet, I keyed in on Miller with a blank slate. With his frame and tools, I could see why the Raiders drafted him. Occasionally, Miller flashed technical ability.
Despite playing during an abysmal 2018, Miller displayed heart. In weeks where the Raiders looked defeated, he ignored the clock. Battling injuries as aell as edge rushers, the team saw him play through the pain
When you look at the film, the Raiders need to insist on Miller increasing his strength. In blunt terms, too often, defenders moved Miller into the backfield. The bull rush became his immediate nemesis. Strong ends would force their way through Miller’s chest and frame. In all honesty, he must get his legs under him. This is where his length hurts. Longer, thinner limbs make the defense’s job that much easier.
If you look at the endless list of quality pass rushers that they Raiders face, Miller will get tested. From Von Miller bookending the season to Bosa, Hunter or Mack, Miller will see struggles. Granted, no one expects him to stonewall or pancake or dominate every rusher. Yet, must win more than his fair share of these battles. Derek Carr’s productivity depends on his blindside protector. In addition, the run game needs a competent left tackle to clear a path
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Derwin James isn’t running through the door. Mike McGlinchey looked like the projected pick, but the Niners grabbed him ahead of the Raiders. Kolton Miller is the starting left tackle. With Cable and Gruden’s faith, the Raiders will give him every opportunity to prove himself. While many remain skeptical, the team will lean on him heavily this season. Allowing 65 pressures is a red flag. However, the Raiders want Miller to fight out of it.