Raiders Like What They See of Pair of Rookie Tackles

No. 1 pick Kolton Miller and third-rounder Brandon Parker have made big strides already, say teammates and coaches

Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker already have come a long way with the Raiders.

The pair of offensive tackles, taken in the first (Miller) and third (Parker) rounds, were seen as risk picks by some. Though the Raiders needed help at right tackle, Oakland’s selection of the two offensive linemen prompted some critics to say the franchise had drafted more for need than talent, and that the Raiders had reached. Miller from UCLA and Parker from North Carolina A&T each had significant flaws, according to some NFL scouts.

Yet through organized team activities (OTAs) and the recent full-roster minicamp, Miller and Parker have taken big strides, working with offensive line coach Tom Cable and the rest of the coaching staff.

“It’s not too big for him,” said Cable, of Miller stepping up to the NFL level, to Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group. “He’s looked just fine. He’s kind of put an exclamation point of our choosing of him. … He’s very athletic. He’s very smart. For a tall kid, he can really bend. … the guy can unfold, as we say. He has a quiet toughness about him that has really shown up a lot. His consistency already as a young player in spring football has been amazing.”

If Miller continues on this track, he’ll be poised to win the starting spot at right tackle for Game 1 of the regular season, though he’ll be dueling with veteran Breno Giacomini. Parker could win the job at swing tackle and become a starter eventually when left tackle Donald Penn retires or moves on.

Veteran Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson told the team’s website he’s been impressed by Miller and Parker.

“Smart kids,” said Hudson. “They listen. They’re learning and working and asking questions, which I think is always important for young guys. To ask questions about where they can do better, and both of those guys do that.”

Said head coach Jon Gruden of the rookie duo: “We like what we see. We like it a lot.”

The Raiders will open training camp in mid-July.

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