Kolton Miller Is The Raiders Starting Left Tackle… For Now

Jon Gruden delivered a message last week that some had been prepared for, but still caught many by surprise. Heading into the Raiders’ offseason program, Kolton Miller will be staying at left tackle and Trent Brown, who is making $16.5 million per year, will begin the offseason at right tackle.

Miller, of course, was the Raiders first-round pick in 2018 and at 6’8, 320 pounds, he was (and is) the prototype for what an offensive tackle should look like in the NFL.

But unfortunately for Miller, his rookie year was hampered by a handful of injuries (most notable the knee injury) that seemed to contribute to his technique deteriorating a little as the season progressed. Miller’s inconsistent play combined with Brandon Parker’s struggles at right tackle are undoubtedly what made Brown, who has experience at both tackle positions, so appealing to Jon Gruden.

When the Raiders made Brown the highest-paid offensive tackle in football, many assumed he would take over at left tackle, which inspired a low-key victory lap on Friday among those who had been saying Miller will remain at left tackle.

Naturally, the Raiders would like their first-round pick of a year ago to seize the job at left tackle and become one of the premier tackles in the league, but it’s a safe bet that one of the reasons the Raiders paid Brown as much as they did is because they suspect he could ultimately end up on the left side. If Parker was the only ‘question mark’ along the offensive line, the Raiders would have more likely gone a cheaper route in free agency and signed a less-expensive right tackle to compete with Parker.

By handing the left tackle job to Brown in the first week of May, the Raiders would essentially be saying they whiffed on the Miller pick a year ago – especially given Miller’s struggles with changing positions in the past.

In other words, it makes perfect sense that Miller would get first crack at the job he was drafted to do.

Can he keep the job?

That’s the million-dollar question. But you can bet Gruden won’t be patiently waiting around in September for Miller to get it together. Miller is the sensible left tackle choice in May, but the real (and probably more difficult) decision won’t come for another three months.

Then again, with all the pass rushers in the AFC West, maybe it won’t even matter where the better tackle lines up in 2019… as the elite rushers will be coming from both sides.

twitter: @raidersbeat