When buzz surfaced that the Raiders could be drafting Kolton Miller in the upper half of the first round I was honestly shocked. Having watched him a ton a UCLA I didn’t see him anywhere near a first-round prospect but knowing Tom Cable and his obsession with raw athletes I shouldn’t have been surprised.
Miller was thrown into the fire from day one and by all accounts had a pretty rough rookie season. Starting with the fact that he played a majority of the year injured.
Miller started off the season decently, but things took a big turn when he injured in MCL in week 4. For some reason, the Raiders decided to let Miller play through the pain instead of protecting their long-term investment, and the results were brutal.
From week 4 till the end of the season no tackle allowed more pressures (60) or sacks (16) than Miller. He struggled with speed around the edge and players ability to convert that speed to power much like he did in college and displayed weak hands at the point of attack.
He was lauded by the coaching staff for his toughness and willingness to play through an injury, but as the season went on, he became a liability. He definitely showed some skills for halves or quarters of games that give you hope, but he is a long way from becoming a franchise tackle.
It is important to state that this season of struggles does not fall fully on the shoulder of Miller himself. I thought it was incredibly short sided by the coaching staff to put him on the field knowing he was limited. On top of that, he is receiving spotty coaching at best from Tom Cable and for talent as raw as Miler that is what scares me the most.
Hopefully, he is able to heal up fully in the offseason without lingering problems. Let’s also hope that the difficulties of this season only make him stronger for 2019.