A nightmare offseason for Alex Leatherwood just gets worse. The 2021 first-round pick by the Las Vegas Raiders had a disappointing rookie season but managed to start every game. New head coach Josh McDaniels has given him every opportunity to win the starting right tackle spot in training camp.
The Raiders didn’t address the position in the draft or in free agency. However, he has not seized the opportunity. Brandon Parker was beating him out before he got hurt and so was rookie Thayer Munford before he also suffered an injury. Now Jermaine Eluemunor appears to have surpassed him on the depth chart. Everything has worked in Leatherwood’s favor but he continues to play poorly.
There’s been talk of the Raiders possibly trading the offensive lineman and now teams could be gearing up to make offers. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, there are several teams keeping an eye on the situation and could be keen on trading for Leathwood.
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What Could Raiders Get for Leatherwood?
When the Raiders drafted Leatherwood, he was not considered a first-round pick, and the team was widely panned for the move. In hindsight, the pick looks even worse. Teams that had high grades on him coming out of Alabama can’t look at him as overly valuable.
The Raiders would be lucky to get a fourth-round pick out of him. Cutting him makes no sense due to all the dead money left on his contract. If the team truly feels like he does not deserve a spot on the roster, they’ll trade him. What Las Vegas has to hope for is that a team sees a future for him at guard and is willing to give them a solid offer.
What’s Wrong With Leatherwood?
Leatherwood’s development has been strange. He started a lot of games at Alabama and should’ve been one of the most pro-ready prospects heading into the NFL. For whatever reason, he just can’t find success at the pro level. The Athletic’s Ted Nguyen spoke with former Kansas City Chiefs All-Pro offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz and watched film of Leatherwood. Schwartz gave some insight on the tackle’s biggest problems.
“His attention is a little too much on that in a few of those clips,” Schwartz said. “It also looks like he’s taught to stay more under control and not set so deep so he doesn’t get beat inside and stays inside/out. But too many times he’s underplaying the block, not understanding his position relative to where the QB is and where he should be, and then puts himself in a position to easily give up the edge.”
Schwartz also spoke on Leatherwood’s biggest problem.
“(Leatherwood’s) biggest mechanical problem is he punches too low,” Schwartz said. “When the defender does anything to his right arm, he’s got no leverage and no pressure going upwards. It makes him top heavy, and he’s susceptible to falling on his face.”
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