Joe Davidson

Five Sacramento-area products land in NFL. Why the region's 2019 class could be special

Newest Oakland Raider Kolton Miller 'ready to get started' with new coach Jon Gruden

Offensive tackle Kolton Miller, whom the Raiders took 15th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, said he's "ready to get started" with his new team.
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Offensive tackle Kolton Miller, whom the Raiders took 15th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, said he's "ready to get started" with his new team.

The NFL draft came and went, but the phone calls continued after the whirlwind three-day draft bonanza in Dallas.

Because there are only seven rounds, scores of undrafted players sign free-agent contracts for a shot to extend careers.

The Sacramento area produced two draft selections in Kolton Miller and Taron Johson and had three others sign as undrafted rookies.

The 6-foot-9, 310-pound Miller of Roseville High School and UCLA went 15th overall in the first round to the Oakland Raiders, where he will compete for a job at offensive tackle.

Miller is the area's highest-drafted player since receiver Donte Stallworth of Grant and Tennessee went 13th overall to New Orleans in 2002. The area's highest-drafted lineman is Gordon King of Bella Vista and Stanford – 10th overall to the Giants in 1978.

Taron Johnson went in the fourth round to the Buffalo Bills. He starred at Sheldon, becoming the school's first NFL draftee, and at Weber State, where he earned 2017 Big Sky Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Miller has long been inspired by his 16-year-old brother, Chad, a special-needs student at Roseville and a die-hard football fanatic. Johnson has been motivated to excel since losing his mother, Trina Johnson, to breast cancer in 2005.

Undrafted signings

Wyatt Demps: A 6-foot-4, 200-pound receiver out of Nevada by way of Pleasant Grove High School, Demps signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars after one of the most prolific careers in Wolf Pack history.

He had a career-best 67 catches and 11 touchdowns as a senior in 2017, finishing his career with 151 catches for 1,883 yards and 20 scores.

Trayvon Henderson: A safety out of Hawaii and Grant, Henderson signed with Cincinnati. Bengals scouts expressed interest in the 6-foot, 200-pound Henderson at Hawaii's pro day. He had 237 tackles, nine interceptions and 13 pass breakups with the Rainbow Warriors.

Ross Dwelley: A 6-5, 245-pound tight end from the University of San Diego out of Oak Ridge, Dwelley signed with the 49ers. He can also play special teams, which may be his best shot to make this roster or the practice squad.

Dwelley caught 194 passes over four seasons at San Diego, including 20 touchdowns the last two seasons, and his 10 scoring grabs last season led all Football Championship Series tight ends. The 49ers worked out Dwelley last month.

Who's next?

Next year's NFL draft will likely include three former area stars, two of whom are seen as having first-round potential.

Alabama left tackle Jonah Williams is an All-America candidate with the Crimson Tide and will be a third-year starter. He is expected to enter the draft following his junior season.

USC linebacker Cameron Smith of Granite Bay was a projected first-round pick entering last season but wanted to return for his senior campaign.

Wyoming defensive end Carl Granderson of Grant was listed at No. 65 by CBSSports.com for the 2019 draft class.

Washington quarterback Jake Browning of Folsom will be a fourth-year starter and also expects to be drafted. A strong senior campaign would boost his stock.

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