Heading into last year’s draft, it was clear the Las Vegas Raiders were going to draft a right tackle but it was unclear which one. Nobody predicted them to take former Alabama starter Alex Leatherwood. He was projected to go in the second or third round but the Raiders took him with the 17th overall pick.
One player that was linked to the team before Leatherwood was former Oklahoma State tackle Teven Jenkins. He was more of a true right tackle than Leatherwood but ended up falling to the Chicago Bears in the second round. As disappointing as Leatherwood was as a rookie, he was still a better pick than Jenkins as the Bears rookie missed 11 games due to injury and only started in two.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo, the Bears are interested in trading the former second-round pick. Considering his disappointing start, Chicago won’t get back what they paid for him. Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus believes that the Raiders could be a landing spot for Jenkins if the Bears are willing to take a fourth-round pick for the tackle:
The Las Vegas Raiders used their first-round pick in 2021 on tackle Alex Leatherwood, but he was relegated to the right guard spot to finish the 2021 campaign and frankly struggles regardless of where he lines up. Jenkins could be an intriguing prospect at right tackle or right guard, and Raiders assistant general manager Champ Kelly was with the Bears in 2021, so he has familiarity with Jenkins and perhaps insights on the ongoing situation in Chicago.
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Should Raiders Trade for Jenkins?
Based on his rookie season, there isn’t much reason to believe Jenkins will be any better than Leatherwood. At least the Raiders first-rounder was able to stay healthy for the entire season. That said, a fourth-round pick for a player who could still have potential isn’t a huge price to pay.
Jenkins could even have value as a swing tackle. It’s difficult to find good offensive linemen at this point in the offseason so perhaps taking a chance on Jenkins would be a smart move to make.
Raiders Need Another OT
Even if the Raiders have no interest in Jenkins, they have to add more offensive line help. Brandon Parker was favored to be the starting right tackle but he’s been missing practice with an undisclosed injury. He could be out for a while. Right now, it appears rookie seventh-round pick Thayer Munford or Leatherwood could be the starting right tackle. That doesn’t make the fan base feel confident.
The Raiders would be wise to look at some veterans in free agency. Daryl Williams is the most interesting name considering he was an All-Pro player in 2017 and is just 29. The Raiders’ offense could be elite this season but it’s going to be difficult to operate if the offensive line is bad. If the team was rebuidling, there’d be nothing wrong with seeing how the young players can develop but there’s too much at risk right now.