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Kolton Miller’s lackluster Raiders preseason performance

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

Kolton Miller’s selection by the Raiders with the 14th overall pick was controversial as scouting evaluations had him projected all over the board prior to the draft. With a handful of highly regarded defensive players still on the board, the Raiders decision to take Miller was likely influenced by his elite athleticism and their dearth of talent at offensive tackle.

While I wasn’t ecstatic about his selection, the fact remained that Miller was now a Raider and I was willing to give him a chance see he could excel in the preseason against NFL starting caliber competition. Unfortunately, Miller has not impressed thus far in his limited preseason appearances.

In order to better understand Miller’s play, I graded Miller on a snap by snap basis for his performance against the Green Bay Packers.

In grading an offensive lineman, I consider not losing as far more important than winning. An offensive lineman’s ability to take correct angles, minimize disruption, and limit pressures should all contribute to a low loss percentage, or the percentage of the time an offensive lineman loses as compared to his total snaps.

In my grading system, offensive lineman with a sub 10% loss rate are elite and below 20% is starter level. Still, it is important to keep in mind that my usual system of grading offensive lineman is ineffective due to the extraordinarily small nature of my sample size.

Nevertheless, Miller’s production against the Packers starting defensive line was absolutely terrible by any metric. In the seven snaps of the first Raiders’ drive, Miller surrendered 1 QB hit and 2 pressures which is worse than a regular pass block loss.

Let’s examine each of these negative plays individually to better understand what happened.

On the very first play, the play action with Marshawn Lynch was able to freeze Nick Perry (one of the most underrated NFL players by my evaluation) for a split second. Theoretically, this would allow Miller plenty of time to set his feet in perfect position and jam Perry to stymie his pass rush. Unfortunately, Miller was far too hesitant with his hand usage and Perry almost contemptuously swats Miller’s hand away as he cuts inside and smashes into Carr as he threw the deep ball to Cooper. If Carr had been allowed to step into that throw, the Raiders may have had a touchdown on their first play.

My negative grade on this snap is a bit more subjective, but I’ll stand by it. Miller gets beat by Gilbert who gives a one arm stab to create separation before he swatted away Miller’s arm as he bent around the edge. If it wasn’t for Carr displaying good footwork and awareness by stepping up in the pocket combined with the defensive end slipping, Miller would have been beaten completely.

There is not much to be analyzed here. On this snap, Miller gets left in the dust as Clay Mathews fakes to the right and then spins back left. If Donald Penn had not been walked back into Carr, Mathews would have had the sack.

It wasn’t all negative with Miller. As the game progressed, Miller improved as demonstrated by this snap where he mirrors the Packers DE perfectly and drives him to the floor. There was some of the aggressiveness and hand usage that was missing from his game previously.


Miller was absolutely terrible during the first drive but he improved and played well throughout the rest of his time in the game. While that improvement should also be partly attributed to the diminishing talent facing him, it’s possible a large part of it was due to the change of mindset.

Cable/Gruden likely ripped into him on the sideline about his lack of aggressiveness and hand usage and he responded.

While Miller’s athleticism reaches the physical thresholds for an All-Pro talent, he still requires a ton of improvements to his technique and overall core strength before he reaches anywhere near that level of play.


What is your level of confidence regarding Miller’s ability to play left tackle heading into the regular season?

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