In the days leading up to the NFL draft, Kolton Miller joked that he was "racking up the mileage points."
All that travel paid off Thursday, and now Miller's home games will only be a short drive from his roots.
The Raiders took the offensive lineman out of UCLA with the 15th selection in the NFL draft Thursday in Arlington, Texas. Miller, who is 6-foot-8 and 310 pounds, is a graduate of Roseville High School.
“I’m stoked,” Miller said. “I’m ready to get going there and compete and learn from the older guys. There’s a lot of experience surrounding me. I’m ready to embrace it.”
Miller is the 13th player from the Sacramento region to be selected in the first round. The most recent players were Arik Armstead of Pleasant Grove High and Shaq Thompson of Grant High in 2015.
"I'm proud and excited," Miller told The Bee's Joe Davidson earlier this month. "I've worked hard. Work is something my dad instilled into me, and I'm competitive already. I want to be the best, and I push myself. I want to get at least 1 percent better every day."
Miller is Roseville's highest NFL draft pick since 1996, when the New England Patriots selected linebacker Tedy Bruschi out of Arizona in the third round.
He'll join a familiar face in Oakland: The Raiders drafted defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes, Miller's UCLA teammate and an Auburn native, in the third round last year.
Miller – considered by several publications to be the second-best offensive tackle prospect behind Mike McGlinchey, who went to the 49ers with the ninth pick – allowed only two sacks and 16 quarterback pressures in 579 pass blocking snaps last season, according to Pro Football Focus.
“When you’re talking about pass protection and staying in front of your guy, that’s what he does,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “He’s got the length, he’s got the great feet. You talk about getting to the second level and pulling. This guy has a lot of talent. We think in our scheme and coach (Tom Cable) working with him, he'll flourish.”
Miller excelled at the scouting combine in February. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.95 seconds, making him one of only four linemen to finish in under 5 seconds. He also had a vertical jump of 31 1/2 inches and set a combine record for offensive linemen with a broad jump of 10 feet, 1 inch.
Earlier this month, he explained his process of meeting with NFL officials.
"I am now used to talking to NFL coaches, GMs and line coaches," Miller said. "I've done a lot of visits, a lot of workouts, a lot of back-and-forth across the country. I've seen a lot of NFL facilities, met a lot of people. I'm racking up the mileage points!"
There will be a lot more traveling in Miller's future. The Raiders' eight road games include trips to Baltimore, Cincinnati and Miami.
According to his draft profile on NFL.com, among Miller's strengths are a "strong desire and hustle to win lateral positioning as move blocker" and he "has necessary foot quickness and athletic ability to mirror counter spins and inside charges." However, he "needs more consistent latch and finish with his hands" and his "height may be a hindrance in handling traffic around the edge."
The Raiders, who went 6-10 last season, came into the draft with the 10th pick in the first round after losing a coin flip with the 49ers. Oakland traded down with the Arizona Cardinals, who selected Miller's UCLA teammate, quarterback Josh Rosen, and gave the Raiders the 15th, 79th and 152nd picks in exchange. Oakland later dealt the 79th pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for receiver Martavis Bryant.
The Sacramento region has had 13 first-round picks in the NFL draft.
- 2017: OL Kolton Miller, Roseville, Raiders, 15th
- 2015: DE Arik Armstead, Pleasant Grove, 49ers, 17th
- 2015: LB Shaq Thompson, Grant, Carolina Panthers, 25th
- 2002: WR Donte Stallworth, Grant, New Orleans Saints, 13th
- 1997: WR Rae Carruth, Valley, Carolina Panthers, 27th
- 1987: DT Reggie Rogers, Norte Del Rio, Detroit Lions, 7th
- 1985: C Trevor Matich, Rio Americano, New England Patriots, 28th
- 1984: CB Don Rogers, Norte Del Rio, Cleveland Browns, 18th
- 1983: QB Tony Eason, Delta, New England Patriots, 15th
- 1983: QB Ken O'Brien, Jesuit, New York Jets, 24th
- 1982: RB Gerald Willhite, Cordova, Denver Broncos, 21st
- 1978: T Gordon King, Bella Vista, New York Giants, 10th
- 1978: LB Dan Bunz, Oakmont, 49ers, 24th