When the Raiders selected Kolton Miller with the fifteenth overall pick, you could hear the cascade of boos fall upon the fanbase. First, people wanted Derwin James, the versatile Florida State safety. During his first season, Miller mightily struggled at left tackle. Yet, the Raiders stuck with him. By the end, Miller gained respect for pushing through nagging injuries to make it this year. Now, with a year under his belt, Miller looks to build upon his success. FPC Raiders writers Ray Aspuria and Pete Camarillo face off to discuss.
What two differences in Kolton Miller do you see from last season?
He’s physically bigger and stronger. And he’s healthy and confident.
While the false first step rears it’s ugly head here and there, Miller now has the power to go along with agility to make up for it. His knee is healthy and he’s no longer overcompensating for it and he’s held up well against both power and speed rushers.
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Miller’s problems were never technique or size. His biggest issues since UCLA have been consistency, availability and temperament. Miller has done a good job showing up every snap and using the tools he is blessed with. I think some of that added toughness and confidence comes from Richie Incognito playing beside him, as much as I hate to say it. It could also have something to do with being more comfortable in the league and Gruden’s offense. Remember, Miller only played with KO about half the season last year.
Thus, the real test for Miller will be maintaining his performance through the second half of the season. Each game only brings more pain for offensive linemen and that is something Miller will need to show he can manage over an entire season. He also needs to show he can do that when Carr isn’t getting out the ball fast or Jacobs isn’t making something happen in the run game every play.
When the Raiders head to Las Vegas, Kolton Miller will served as a cornerstone. Whether that fact remains unpopular or not, Jon Gruden sees Miller as that left tackle to protect for the next eight years or so.