2022 Position Breakdown: Kolton Miller has become 'a great leader' for the young offensive line

Position Breakdown_Offensive Line

Entering 2022 Training Camp, Raiders.com will preview every position group and evaluate the players who will potentially make up the 53-man roster. Here's a deep dive on the offensive linemen.

Returning Players

The two things the offensive line won't be missing come Training Camp is depth and competition.

The Raiders will be returning seven offensive linemen that started at least one game last season for the Silver and Black. The unit will once again be spearheaded by fifth-year vet Kolton Miller, who's coming off the best season of his career. Miller played 100 percent of all possible offensive snaps last year, with an 85 overall PFF grade that ranked in the top five of all offensive tackles last season.

"He's one of our best workers, there's no doubt about it," Head Coach Josh McDaniels said about Miller during OTAs. "And you can see why he has improved each year that he's been in the National Football League. He puts a lot of time and effort into it in the facility. He works really hard in the weight room. He's in great condition. He studies hard.

"In order to be really good in this league, there's a lot of things you've got to do well. And Kolton gives a great effort every day at everything that he's responsible for. Kolton's a great leader for us. Brings a lot of others along with him, which is great, and affects his teammates in a positive way."

Alongside Miller last season, his UCLA teammate and good friend Andre James played every single down on offense as well, stepping up into the starting role after two years of learning behind Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson.

As for the guards next to James, John Simpson, Jermaine Eluemunor and Denzelle Good are all solid options to look at. Simpson stepped in last season for the injured Richie Incognito and held down the starting left guard spot the entire season. After a productive 2020 season, Good tore his ACL Week 1, in which Eluemunor filled in to play some meaningful snaps at right guard in his place. Eluemunor is accustomed to the new offense being brought in, having played two seasons under McDaniels in New England.

For the returning right tackles, it will be interesting to see how Alex Leatherwood and Brandon Parker both fit into the picture. Leatherwood was the Raiders' 2021 first-round pick and started all 17 games plus the wild-card game as a rookie. However, early in the season he was switched from starting right tackle to starting right guard, with Brandon Parker moving in to start 13 games at right tackle for the season.

Leatherwood's combination of size, strength and power could give the team a run at some dominant pass rushers that are positioned at the left defensive end," wrote NFL.com's Bucky Brooks. "Considering Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa, Bradley Chubb and Randy Gregory could spend time opposite him, the Raiders could benefit from aligning the massive second-year pro at right tackle. If Leatherwood refines his technique and becomes more consistent with his hand placement and finish, he could emerge as a solid starter and key contributor to an offense that should light up scoreboards around the league."

To round up the remaining returning offensive linemen, Lester Cotton Sr, Jackson Barton and Hroniss Grasu were steady forces on the practice squad last season. Cotton and Barton have played in a combined seven games in the Silver and Black.

New Additions

The Silver and Black added three rookie offensive linemen to their unit heading into Training Camp.

The most notable being their 2022 third-round selection Dylan Parham. Parham was one of the fastest offensive linemen coming out of the draft, with experience playing multiple positions across the line at Memphis. In the seventh round, the Raiders would select Thayer Munford Jr., who has played in some big games in his college career. The 6-foot-6, 320-pounder won multiple Big 10 titles as an Ohio State Buckeye, with an appearance in the 2021 CFB National Championship Game. Then there's Bamidele Olaseni, a UDFA who showed great promise at Utah. The 26-year-old from London, England, started 11 games at left tackle last season for the Pac-12 champions and was named All-Pac-12 Second Team.

Alex Bars and Tyrone Wheatley Jr. both come to the Raiders as former Chicago Bears. Bars played 38 games (11 starts) in his three seasons there, while Wheatley was on the Bears practice squad last season and made the transition from tight end to offensive lineman once he entered into the NFL. His father, Tyrone Wheatley Sr., was a running back for the Raiders for six seasons.

Jordan Meredith signed as a UDFA with the defending champion Los Angeles Rams last season. Before his short stint as a Ram, he was named All-Conference USA Second Team his senior year at Western Kentucky.

Previous Position Breakdowns: Quarterbacks, Running backs, Wide receivers, Tight ends

View photos of the Las Vegas Raiders offensive linemen heading into 2022 Training Camp.

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