When Kolton Miller was selected by the then-Oakland Raiders in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Raider Nation was not too pleased. Miller was seen as a stretch at pick No. 15 overall, especially for a team that already had a Pro Bowl left tackle in Donald Penn, but the selection has certainly worked out.
Miller stepped in as a rookie and beat out Penn, who moved over to the right side, but he certainly struggled big time in his first season of professional football. He allowed a ton of sacks and pressures, playing through injury, but he showed Gruden and this franchise that he had what it takes to be a force in this league.
In 2019, Miller improved significantly under offensive line coach Tom Cable, and last season, he was one of the more consistent offensive tackles in the game.
Raiders found a gem in Kolton Miller
Entering his fourth season in the NFL, Miller has become a legitimate franchise left tackle and has done a tremendous job protecting quarterback Derek Carr. He had his fair share of mistakes during his rookie campaign but played through the inconsistencies, and the injuries, starting all 16 games on a very bad Raiders team.
As the Raiders have built this offensive line, they have done so with their left tackle spot locked down by Miller, who is now one of the better young offensive tackles in football. Only 25-years old, he seemingly gets better every week and will be counted on even more as the team likely moves away from Trent Brown this offseason.
He has gone up against some of the best edge rushers in football during his first three seasons and has become a stone wall on the left side. To say Gruden hit on this pick would be an understatement.
There is likely going to be a lot of shuffling up front along the offensive line for the Raiders this offseason, but Miller is not going anywhere. In fact, not only should he make his first Pro Bowl next season, but the organization needs to seriously start thinking about a contract extension for one of Jon Gruden’s best draft picks.