If pressure makes diamonds, Kolton Miller must have felt plenty of it in his first three years in the league.
Because the Raiders franchise left tackle has shone like a diamond en route to signing a multi-year extension with the Raiders on Friday morning.
In 2018, Miller was the first offensive lineman the Raiders had selected in the first round of the draft since 2004. A lot was demanded from him coming out of UCLA, as the 6-foot-9, 325-pound lineman became a starter from the jump out of college.
And while he had to adjust to the learning curve of being a young rookie on an offensive stacked with veterans such a Donald Penn, Gabe Jackson and Rodney Hudson, Miller has battled through lingering injuries and inconsistency to develop into a true strength and dependable anchor on the offensive line.
"They always say don't listen to the noise, but obviously I picked up some of that in my rookie year, but when injuries or little setbacks happened, I didn't let that affect me," said Miller after signing his extension. "I feel like as a player you can't let that affect you. What I wanted to prove most was to my coaches, to my teammates and the fans that to really invest and prove myself as much as I can to be their left tackle, to protect DC [Derek Carr]. That little stuff can just distract you and get you off the path to where you want to go."
It's worked; Miller only allowed two sacks and one holding call all of last season with a handful of solid pancake blocks thrown in as well.
"I'm going to continue to improve. I'm going to get stronger, improve my technique. It doesn't stop here." Kolton Miller
"I know there was a lot of adversity my rookie season... I just took it day by day and proved as much as I can. And I'm going to continue to improve. I'm going to get stronger, improve my technique, it doesn't stop here."
The two major factors that made Miller want to stay in Silver and Black are his love for the fanbase and the organization, as well as what he knows is around the corner for the big boys up front.
"I think we're continuing to build," said Miller. "I thought we made great strides last year, but obviously times changed. Like this year, things got moved around a lot and that happens with teams, but I feel really confident in our group, and going forward I have the upmost confidence in the staff. I'm going along for the ride, and I'm for it."
Miller attributes a lot of his development to guys in the locker room like former Raiders center Rodney Hudson, who was just traded to the Arizona Cardinals, and center Andre James who also recently signed an extension this offseason. James has been teammates with Miller dating back to their time at UCLA and work and train together extensively. Miller is excited to see his teammate and friend continue to develop with him and work for the opportunity to see more time on the field.
"You can see he already had the footwork, already had the fundamentals, he just needed to fine tune some of the smaller stuff. He's come along a great way. I'm excited for the season. I'm excited for the competition coming up to see what he does. It's funny to look back at that."
Along with Miller, who is 25 years old, the offensive line has made the shift the offseason to younger talent coming up in James, Brandon Parker and John Simpson. The Silver and Black has also signed the versatile Nick Martin who can guide the offensive line in veteran leadership alongside Denzelle Good and Pro Bowl guard Richie Incognito.
"I think it's a huge opportunity," Miller said. "I'm glad I could extend my time here. I love playing here. I want to be Raider for as long as I can."