With the No. 15 selection in the NFL Draft, the Raiders selected tackle Kolton Miller. Here are five things to know about the 6-foot-9, 309 pounder from UCLA:
1. He made a ‘big leap’ at the Combine
Few players boosted their stock more in Indianapolis than Miller, who blasted into the first round both literally and figuratively. Miller set a Combine record for offensive linemen with a broad jump of 10-feet, 1-inch.
As former Bruins coach Jim Mora once said of him: “He’s got tremendous ankle flexibility — I know it sounds silly. He can bend his knees. He can get low. He’s got tremendous lateral movement.”
Miller also clocked a 4.95 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine, making him one of only four offensive linemen to check in under 5.0 seconds
2. His favorite player is a linebacker
Miller loves former New England Patriots star Tedy Bruschi. Why in the world would an offensive lineman love someone who chased quarterbacks?
Because they both went to Roseville High School, near Sacramento. Their high school coach, Larry Cuhna, even arranged for Miller and Bruschi to connect.
“It was a nice call,” Miller told The Sacramento Bee. “He told me to enjoy my senior season, to enjoy high school because once you get to college, it becomes a business.”
3. He’s tall
No, this news does not require a the #BREAKING hashtag. He’s listed at 6-foot-9. Bigger is generally better in football, but Miller’s height is not without challenges. He has to be extra refined with his blocking technique.
“I think as a big guy, you have to over-emphasize getting low because people aren’t going to be the same height as you. And this game is a game of leverage,” he said.
Then again …
“I think it’s an advantage, too,” Miller continued, “because when you get low, you can drive your hips and extend and end up gaining more power.”
4. Mel Kiper Jr. loves him
The venerable ESPN analyst gushed about Miller’s potential immediately after the selection. Kiper even invoked the name of an NFL Hall of Famer.
“I think you’re looking at the best UCLA tackle since Jonathan Ogden, athletically and physically,” Kiper said. “If you look at where he’ll be two or three years down the road, he could be one of the most athletic tackles in the game.”
As highlight clips of Miller rolled on screen, Kiper kept going.
“He has tight end speed and, as a left tackle, he has incredible feet. He got better and better,” he said.
5. He really liked Josh Rosen
The UCLA quarterback’s reputation took a few bumps and bruises as the NFL Draft process chugged along, but Miller regards Rosen as a wonderful teammate.
“Josh came in as a No. 1 high school guy, a little cocky,” Miller said. “Of course you hear off-campus stuff about him, but as the years went on he really matured, he’s really well-rounded, he doesn’t try to be more than what he has to be, a really good leader. I don’t really have anything negative to say about him.”
Source: East Bay Five things to know about Raiders’ first-round pick