Days one and two of the Raiders draft this year saw the Raiders take two tackles in the span of 50 picks, first taking UCLA’s Kolton Miller at 15 overall in the first round and then trading up to the first pick of the third round to take Brandon Parker out of North Carolina A&T.
Both Miller and Parker spent last season at left tackle. Prior to that, Miller played on the right side, while Parker has played nothing but on the left.
They’re extensive experience at left tackle, led one to wonder which side either or both of them would be lining up. Jon Gruden revealed at least how their time in Oakland would begin.
“I think right now we’re going to start him off on the left side,” Gruden said of Kolton Miller. “Get him comfortable over there, that’s where he recently played. We like him at left tackle. We think he’s a prototype left tackle. He can bend, he’s got the length that you’re looking for and he’s a sharp kid. He’s still young though.
“Brandon Parker we’ll start over on the right side. That’s doesn’t mean that’s where they’re gonna end up though.”
Suddenly playing on the right side after never having played there isn’t the easiest thing.
“I played left my whole career, but it’s not an issue to go to right [tackle] at all,” said Parker. . . obviously, I need to work there just because I’ve had a lot more reps at left. It’s still just as fine as the left.”
It’s interesting because being that Miller is the first round pick, the team would figure to want to get him on the field earlier. And with Donald Penn at left tackle, the quickest route to the field would seem to be on the right side. That is a healthy Penn.
The veteran left tackle is still recovering from the injured foot he suffered late last season that required surgery this offseason. That could be why Miller is lining up on the left side to start out because Penn may not be ready to return full. That’s where Miller says he’s most comfortable anyway.
“I’m happy to compete wherever they put me. Of course being that I have the last games on the left I feel more comfortable [there], but wherever they plug me in at I’m ready to compete.”
If and when Penn is back full, it will be interesting to see if Miller remains on the left side, presumably as the backup or if Gruden moves him to the right side. Or even if Miller were to perform well, if he could threaten to take the starting spot.
Regardless, Miller’s ultimate destination will be left tackle, that much is clear, which would suggest right tackle is Parker’s final landing spot as well. In which case what the coaches are seeing now is a preview. In between now and then, we may see some jumping back and forth.