Kolton Miller hit the ground running for Raiders training camp.
Though it doesn’t exactly resemble a T-Rex rumbling across the grounds from a “Jurassic Park” scene, it’s not too far off.
Miller is 6-foot-8 and 325 pounds. He’s plenty big, nimble and swift. The Raiders rookie lineman from UCLA by way of Roseville High School has impressed the right folks in his first sessions with helmets and pads.
The 22-year-old, selected 15th overall in the NFL draft in April, has seized his opportunity to work with the first team unit with veteran left tackle Donald Penn on the physically-unable-to-perform list from December foot surgery.
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To add to the fun, Miller’s parents and younger brother — Dan, Karrie and Chad — went to Napa to watch some of the action. Miller said he was “thrilled” to have them on hand.
Said quarterback Derek Carr at camp recently during a post-practice media gathering, “Kolton is awesome. He’s really tall, very athletic, can move, can run. He’s strong. You can tell that he put in a lot of work in the weight room before he came back. ...
“He came back and he’s strong, ready to take those bull rushes. As a tall guy, you know that’s coming. ... But he’s ready. He looks really good.”
Said Raiders All-Pro left guard Kelechi Osemele, “Kolton looks real good right now. Physically, his development, his understanding of our play-calling, the game, our scheme ... he’s way ahead of where I would’ve been at this point in training camp my rookie year.”
Miller faced Raiders defensive end Bruce Irvin several times in drills and earned the praise of coach Jon Gruden, who said, “He’s blocking a beast over there. Bruce Irvin is gonna test Miller every day.”
Miller invites any challenge.
“It can only help me,” he said of facing Irvin. “He has a lot of tools that he uses, a lot of moves, which means you have to really hone on your craft. He wants you to mess up. That’s something that you have to focus on and make sure you don’t because then it can get you.”
Miller said he has learned from Penn as well, picking up tricks of the trenches trade.
“That happened a lot in the spring,” Miller said. “I’d be in the back and he’d be telling me, ‘You can be doing this and sitting back.’ He has a lot of tips for me, especially him being as experienced as he is.”
Added Osemele, “As far as the framework of being an elite left tackle, (Miller) has the tools there. I think it’s really up to us to get him where he needs to be.”