The Oakland Raiders acquired two offensive players in the 2018 NFL Draft to the utter surprise of almost all of Raider Nation.
The Raiders traded back five spots from 10 to 15 with the Arizona Cardinals in tonight’s draft, to select UCLA offensive tackle Kolton Miller. In addition, they were able to pick up two additional picks in the third (79) and fifth (152) rounds.
I mean, this guy has a lot of talent and we think if we can get him on scheme and get coach Cabes [Tom Cable] working with him, he’s going to flourish. – Reggie McKenzie
Clearly, offensive line coach Tom Cable had pull in the Raiders war room today. When Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was asked about Cable’s influence over the pick, it was clearly true – to a point.
“Oh, he played a big part,” McKenzie said. “We look at all the coaches in the evaluations. We interviewed him and we had a lot of meetings with him to try to figure out who he is as a person and what drives him. We feel very good about everything about Kolton Miller.”
Miller has freakish size at 6-foot-8, 310 pounds. Miller was a 4-star recruit out of high school according to Rivals.com and in his last season at UCLA, he started 13 games and UCLA improved its rushing game by one yard per attempt as a result of his play. His size also means he has the arm length needed to play the position in the NFL and scouting reports rave about his footwork and hand work.
McKenzie talked specifically about Miller’s ability and fit for the Raiders.
“What Kolton can do is, when you talk about pass protection and staying in front of his guy, that’s what he does,” McKenzie said. “I mean he’s got the length, he’s got the great feet and when you’re talking about playing at the second level, pulling. I mean, this guy has a lot of talent and we think if we can get him on scheme and get coach Cabes [Tom Cable] working with him, he’s going to flourish.”
Miller, a native Californian, was excited to be returning home.
“Growing up in Sacramento it (the Raiders) was basically the hometown team.”
Former UCLA player and Raiders defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes reached out according to Miller before the draft to get him excited about the possibility of playing in Oakland.
While most of Raider Nation is not happy with this pick, the overall trade from 10 to 15 has netted two players so far and a 5th rounder still left. But the Raiders, despite not having more draft picks on Day 1, weren’t done.
Steelers Trade Bryant to Raiders
One of the Raiders draft plans, according to McKenzie, was to get wide receiver Martavis Bryant from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“We felt like we drafted Martavis Bryant,” said McKenzie in the post-round one press conference.
Bryant is an intriguing choice for the Raiders. In Pittsburgh, he showed a lot of upside but also had issues with the coaching staff. Of note: Bryant has a cap hit of $1.9 Million, which leaves the Raiders sitting at $1.6 million left per Over the Cap. All in all though, it should be a solid use of a third round pick as he’ll be paired with both Jordy Nelson and Amari Cooper in a much upgraded receiver corps.
The Raiders did make a run to try to package picks to get back into the end of the first round. There were solid discussions but nothing came to fruition. The Raiders started the day with 11 picks, and after the first round and getting two players, they still have 11 picks. Tomorrow should be another fluid day as the Raiders are expected to be active making deals again.
What do you think?