After a rookie season in 2018 that saw Las Vegas Raiders tackle Kolton Miller struggle, the former UCLA product is now a foundational player.
Speaking to the media recently as OTAs continued for the Raiders, Miller reflected on his career. The 2018 first-round pick has had quite the career thus far, overcoming early difficulties to now being on the brink of joining the NFL’s upper echelon of left tackles. His tenure has seen a slew of turnover at two of the most important positions within the Raiders’ organization; general manager and head coach. Miller has seen Reggie McKenzie and Mike Mayock come and go, while Jon Gruden (the coach responsible for his selection) is also gone. All of that takes place in the span of just four years.
“Man, four years has gone by like that. It goes by quick. But I’m still trying to compete and learn and pick up something each day. There’s always something to work on. And I think that’s spread out across the room. We’re still young, and we’re trying to improve in as many areas as we can. It’s all new — new coach, new system. Trying to get the basics and execute as well as we can.”
Kolton Miller is now a stalwart for the Raiders’ offensive line
Fast forward to 2022, and Miller’s evolution as both a player on and off the field has been remarkable. Getting better with each passing season, Miller has solidified his place as a leader on the offense. His improvement hasn’t gone unnoticed by Josh McDaniels either. The new head coach also praised Miller’s development.
“Yeah, he’s one of our best workers, there’s no doubt about it. And you can see why he has improved each year that he’s been in the National Football League. He puts a lot of time and effort into it in the facility. He works really hard in the weight room. He’s in great condition. He studies hard.”
Per Pro Football Focus, Miller’s pass-blocking has improved each year since 2019, his grades being as follows: 68.4, 81.3, and 84.4, respectively. He’s maintained discipline and has refined his game. In 2018, Miller surrendered 16 sacks as a rookie. By last season, that number dropped to four.
Kolton Miller's 85.0 PFF Grade in 2021 is the highest by a Raiders Tackle since 2016 💪 pic.twitter.com/uabYXC4SJ2
— PFF Las Vegas Raiders (@PFF_Raiders) March 13, 2022
The fact that Miller is already the best tackle that the Raiders have had since 2016 (as pointed out by PFF) speaks not only to his talent but also to his perseverance. It wasn’t that long ago that many in Raider Nation were labeling him a bust after just one year. Looking ahead to 2022, much of the success that the Raiders offense will have will not only hinge on Davante Adams and Derek Carr, but on Miller as well.
*Top Photo: Courtesy of NFL.com