San Francisco 49ers

Rare feet: Roseville's Kolton Miller plans to impress at scouting combine

UCLA offensive lineman Kolton Miller looks to block for quarterback Josh Rosen against Texas A&M on Sept. 3, 2017, in Pasadena.
UCLA offensive lineman Kolton Miller looks to block for quarterback Josh Rosen against Texas A&M on Sept. 3, 2017, in Pasadena. AP

Offensive linemen aren't much of a draw when it comes to the 40-yard dash. Bellies spilling over their waistbands. Even sloppier sprinting technique. Most can be timed with a sundial instead of a stopwatch.

Kolton Miller, however, promises to bring a bit of flash to the event. The Roseville High School graduate and UCLA tackle has crossed the finish line in under 4.9 seconds in the past and said he expects to be in the 4.9-second range Friday when offensive linemen are timed at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

That would be a rare feat for any offensive lineman, much less one who is 6-foot-8 and 314 pounds.

Of the 40 offensive linemen who ran the 40-yard dash at last year's combine, three had a time below 5 seconds, and two of them weighed less than 300 pounds. The last 300-plus pounder to run under 4.9 seconds was 6-6, 309-pound Taylor Lewan, who posted a 4.87-second time in 2014 and was selected by the Tennessee Titans with the 11th pick that April.

"I've been told my pass sets are a little like Taylor Lewan's," Miller said.

An 11th overall selection might be overly optimistic for Miller. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein projects him as a second- or third-round pick. Rob Rang, a draft analyst for NFL Draft Scout, said Miller is more like a third or fourth rounder. He has the requisite height and arm length, Rang said, but he's played only one full season at left tackle and needs to sharpen his technique.

"Like many blockers of similar height, he struggles with pad level, an issue complicated because he possesses just average functional strength," Rang said.

Others, like Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer and ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr., have Miller going in the first round in their mock drafts. Breer connected Miller with the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles at No. 32. Kiper has him going to the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 12.

If any lineman makes a leap up draft boards this week it will be Miller because, well, he's good at leaping. He's expected to be a top performer among the offensive linemen in just about every combine category, including the broad jump and vertical jump. His time in the short shuttle – the event measures a player's short-area quickness – is expected to be one many running backs would be proud to get.

How does someone who wears size 16 shoes and who can squat lift 690 pounds manage to be so fluid?

Miller said he never had a sudden growth spurt as a kid. His growth always was gradual, so he never had to play catch-up with his body. He played baseball and basketball as a boy and was a wrestler in middle school.

"I also did some extra stuff," he said. "My dad would always sign me up for these programs to work on footwork and foot speed. So I wasn't so awkward with my body given my size. Which I think helped. Helped a lot."

He also attended the Lineman Win Games camps at American River College that teach the techniques needed at the college level. The Raiders' Eddie Vanderdoes also took part when he was in high school.

"It's like taking a class," Miller's father, Dan, said. "As a high schooler, you're treated as an adult. You have to do your kick sets, you have to have your bend, you have to be able to punch. I can't say enough about it. It had a big influence on Kolton."

There are about 10 NFL teams with a pressing need at offensive tackle, beginning with the New York Giants at No. 2 and ending with the Eagles at the end of the round.

The 49ers don't need one now, but they could soon. Left tackle Joe Staley will be 34 when the regular season begins and is signed for two more seasons. Right tackle Trent Brown is coming back from shoulder surgery and will be entering the final year of his contract. Darrell Williams, who went undrafted last year, is one of the few young offensive tackles currently on the roster.

The 49ers also happen to play a zone-blocking style of offense that requires athletic linemen. Which makes them a possibility for Miller.

"I think I'd feel most comfortable in the zone scheme because we run it so much at UCLA," he said.

San Francisco 49ers insider Matt Barrows talks about the players and positions the team must consider as the team heads into the NFL scouting combine beginning this month.

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