As we lead up to the NFL Draft here at 1500ESPN, we will take a closer look at the prospects who could end up as Minnesota Vikings. For this edition, we focus on UCLA tackle Kolton Miller….
Why the Vikings could pick Kolton Miller:
Whether you believe Miller could be available at No. 30 depends on who you read. Some mock drafts and analysts have him as a top-15 prospect and pick while others are looking at the former Bruins tackle as a late-first or second rounder. If the Vikings are intent on moving Mike Remmers to right guard, they could select the best tackle available and play him on the right side.
While the Vikings are in win-now mode, Miller’s ceiling could catch their eye. He grew significantly last year in college and flashed his top-notch athleticism at the Combine.
What experts are saying:
I wrote last month that Miller reminds me of former Patriots left tackle Nate Solder, who went in the middle of the first round in 2011. They both have huge frames, and they have great feet. Miller was an under-the-radar prospect coming into the season because of a foot injury that forced him to miss most of 2016. But he came into his own in 2017, and he has a high ceiling. Miller put up freaky athletic numbers at the combine, running a 4.91 40 and jumping 10-foot-1 in the broad jump. He has the type of traits NFL teams fall in love with, especially in a tackle class that doesn’t have a clear No. 1 guy. I wouldn’t be shocked if he went in the top 10.
Pro Football Focus:
He took a big step forward this past season and was one of the most e ective pass protectors in college football. He’ll need to add a good deal of strength to be a plus pass protector at the NFL level.
NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah left Miller off his top 50 prospects.
Miller is an exceptionally tall tackle prospect who lacks the flexibility in his hips to drop his pad level and play with better leverage and a stronger base. His lateral movements in his pass slides are segmented and there are reps that he has to completely break from his technique to chase edge rushers to the corner. What Miller does have is athletic ability that is above average for the position and he showed improvement as the season wore on. He has the physical traits to become an above average NFL starter, but he’ll need to improve his pass pro technique and become a better finisher in the run game.
What the numbers say:
Miller stands out most as a pass blocker, where he allowed just two sacks, six hits and eight hurries in 579 pass blocking snaps. He reduced the number of hurries allowed each year, from 17 two seasons ago to 11 in 2016.
Graphic via Pro Football Focus
If Miller wasn’t on some teams’ radar before the Combine, he was after his outstanding performance. At 6-foot-9, he would be one of the tallest players to ever play in the NFL. Miller’s height certainly didn’t slow him down as he scored elite numbers in every speed and quickness drill. His bench press was also solid.
It would be a tough call for the Vikings if Miller and top guards are both on the board at the same time. His size, athleticism and growth in college make for a very intriguing prospect whose best case scenario is a star left tackle. Would the Vikings draft for a high ceiling rather than a high floor guard? That will be a tough decision. There’s also a chance that another team believes in him more than some pundits and he’s taken before the Vikings are on the clock.
Watch Kolton Miller: