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Jon Gruden says LT Kolton Miller will be ‘long term, big-time player’ for Raiders

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NFL: Green Bay Packers at Oakland Raiders Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been plenty of controversy during Kolton Miller’s time with the Oakland Raiders. When he was drafted, Donald Penn reacted initially with anger, perceiving that he was being replaced. He calmed down after speaking with Jon Gruden, but Kolton Miller was placed at left tackle on the first day of camp and has never left, pushing Penn to the right side. Many were skeptical about the wisdom of displacing Penn and also that the rookie could live up to Penn’s impressive track record at the left tackle position, where Penn is one of the best.

So far, however, those fears have been totally unfounded. Miller is playing at an incredibly high level, allowing two pressures in his first career NFL start against the Rams and only one against the Broncos’ ferocious outside rush. Miller has yet to allow a sack, whereas it was Penn who struggled against Von Miller, allowing five pressures and a sack. Bradley Chubb was completely shut down all day by Miller after being hyped to the moon all offseason. Kolton Miller appears to have all the tools of a franchise left tackle, and Jon Gruden is excited about his future.

When asked how Miller held up against Chubb, Gruden answered, “Pretty good. We like [Kolton] Miller a lot, he is going to be a heck of a player. He’s played against two of the top defenses in football his first two outings. The film speaks for itself.”

It was just last week that Von Miller declared Kolton Miller the best tackle in the 2018 Draft. Some thought he was just blowing smoke, but Miller was absolutely right. Miller has outplayed every other rookie tackle and is growing in confidence.

“We think he’s a long-term, big-time player for us at a critical position. That’s why we drafted him. His range, not only as a pass protector but you saw him get out on the quick screens. He’s got tremendous athleticism and he’s just getting started. It’s exciting,” said Gruden.

At this point, not only is Kolton Miller not looking like a reach at the 15th pick in the last draft, he should be considered a steal. I certainly wasn’t a fan of the selection of Miller at the time, but I am happy to eat my crow on this one and say, Jon Gruden and Tom Cable were right. There are few things in the NFL more valuable than a legitimate franchise left tackle, and it’s looking as though the Raiders have found one.

Miller and the Raiders will take on another fine pair of pass-rushers in Robert Quinn and Cameron Wake next week in Miami, giving Miller another chance to show why the Raiders made the right choice in the 2018 Draft.