After two years, Kolton Miller remains the starting tackle. In his first two years, Miller took his lumps, while learning the pro game. Now, we need to set aside the Derwin James grievance. Yes, the Raiders should have drafted him. No, they did not. As a result, Miller earned undeserved criticism. Moving forward, in his third year, he will face another slate of top pass rushers. If he can prevail in a majority of these, the Raiders will stack a few more wins.
Marcus Davenport (Saints DE)
During his first two seasons, the former UTSA standout tallied 10.5 sacks, before an injury ended his season. With Davenport, Miller will see a long-armed rusher that is still learning his way. Davenport possesses heavy hands that will jolt the blocker, allowing a second move to free himself. For Miller, this will test how he responds to quick power. That is to say, Davenport won’t ragdoll anyone. Instead, he uses power as a transition point.
Brian Burns (Panthers OLB)
In 2019, Burns eased into his role as a pass rusher. Now, the onus to provide a constant rush sits with him. Unlike many matchups, Miller owns a specific and hopefully overwhelming advantage versus Burns. If you’ve watched Burns, you are aware of his ability to blur by tackles, relatively untouched. With not much of a functional power aspect, the snap and burst remains his calling card. Plus, his flexibility gives Burns the corner, dipping under the initial block attempt. he can thrive versus Burns with one though. Latch on first. If Miller connects with the first block, Burns washes out. With no strength counter, Miller can neutralize Burns from snap to whistle. Yet, he cannot fail in technique.
If you glance at the Raiders schedule, outside of the division, Kolton Miller can build confidence. With the horror of the 2018 campaign behind him, he should start with a sense of empowerment. In 1019 snaps, he only surrendered four sacks. Considering how poorly Frank Clark embarrassed him during the 2018 London game, Miller displayed a far better frame and technique. The Las Vegas Raiders need their left tackle to continue his upward trend.