30 Most Important Bruins for 2016: No. 7 Kolton Miller

July 26 -- At No. 7 in our countdown of the 30 most important Bruins is an offensive tackle who's critical mostly for what's absent behind him in the depth chart...

With under one month to go until the start of fall camp, we're going to count down our 30 most important UCLA players for the 2016 season. These are the players we think are going to have the most significant impact for UCLA this year, so don't take this to mean that these are the players we think are the best long-term prospects, or even necessarily the most talented. Every BRO staffer has ranked his top 30 UCLA players, and from that we've drawn an aggregate list.

Today we'll continue with No. 7.

7. Kolton Miller, RS Sophomore Offensive Tackle

2015 Season: Started five games at offensive tackle.

Why He's Important: Assuming everyone stays healthy, when all is said and done this season, UCLA might be regarded as having the best tackle tandem in the Pac-12. At left tackle, Conor McDermott will likely be picked in the first few rounds of the NFL Draft next spring, and at right tackle, the Bruins have McDermott's semi-clone, the tall, bendy Kolton Miller. Some within the program think Miller has even more potential than McDermott, and that's a lofty statement indeed. He certainly has McDermott's reach, and he combines that with arguably better bend and equal lateral quickness. What's he's missing are the competitive reps McDermott has earned over the last two years, but those will come this year.

So, Miller's obviously important, but usually you'd see a starting right tackle further down this list -- maybe in the teens or so. What puts Miller at No. 7 is the utter uncertainty behind those two tackles on the depth chart. Andre James played tackle this spring, but, if we were really pegging where we thought he fits best, it's at guard, not tackle. He still looks like he's a ways off from being a significant contributor, but if you twisted our collective arm enough, we might be talked into him being able to fill in at right tackle this year. It's not ideal, but we could see that happening.

Even still, there'd be a considerable drop-off. Miller and McDermott likely both need to remain fully healthy this year for the offensive line to reach its full potential. With the scheme changing to one more geared toward pro-style elements, and less of the quick-passing spread we've grown accustomed to with Noel Mazzone, maintaining the health of those two tackles is going to be even more critical, especially as it pertains to keeping Josh Rosen upright. Offensive line is one of the biggest question marks this season, especially at the two guard spots, so keeping the relative certainties at tackle healthy is of paramount importance.

What's Been Said About Him:

"He has great athleticism and footwork for a big man. He's nimble on his feet, it's been great watching him progress in the last year and a half." -- DL Coach Angus McClure, Nov. 24, 2015

Most Recent Interview:

30 Most Important Bruins for 2016

RankNameHighest RankLowest Rank
1      
2      
3      
4      
5      
6      
7 Kolton Miller 3 (Dave Woods) 20 (Blair Angulo)
8 Soso Jamabo 7 (John Evergreen) 18 (Blair Angulo)
9 Fabian Moreau 4 (John Evergreen) 22 (Dave Woods)
10 Nate Iese 7 (Blair Angulo) Unranked (Tracy Pierson)
11 Ishmael Adams 8 (Dave Woods) 22 (John Evergreen)
12 Eli Ankou 10 (2-way tie) 21 (Dave Woods)
13 Isaako Savaiinaea 11 (John Evergreen) 27 (Dave Woods)
14 Eldridge Massington 8 (Blair Angulo) 26 (Tracy Pierson)
15 J.J. Molson 9 (Blair Angulo) 21 (2-way tie)
16 Nate Starks 14 (Dave Woods) 22 (Blair Angulo)
17 Jaleel Wadood 6 (John Evergreen) 30 (Tracy Pierson)
18 Kenny Young 13 (Tracy Pierson) Unranked (Blair Angulo)
19 Theo Howard 14 (John Evergreen) 24 (2-way tie)
20 Matt Dickerson 15 (John Evergreen) 29 (Tracy Pierson)
21 Randall Goforth 12 (John Evergreen) 29 (Blair Angulo)
22 Austin Kent 17 (Blair Angulo) 30 (John Evergreen)
23 Bolu Olorunfunmi 13 (Dave Woods) Unranked (Blair Angulo)
24 Deon Hollins 15 (Tracy Pierson) Unranked (Dave Woods)
25 Darren Andrews 12 (Tracy Pierson) Unranked (2-way tie)
26 Kenny Walker 13 (Blair Angulo) Unranked (2-way tie)
27 Mike Fafaul 11 (Tracy Pierson) Unranked (3-way tie)
28 Josh Woods 23 (Blair Angulo) Unranked (2-way tie)
29 Keisean Lucier-South 14 (Tracy Pierson) Unranked (3-way tie)
30 Nate Meadors 20 (John Evergreen) Unranked (2-way tie)
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