3 moves the Las Vegas Raiders got wrong this offseason
Drafting Alex Leatherwood in the first round
It would seem a bit premature to call a rookie four games into his young career a bust, but that would be the case for Alex Leatherwood so far. If you have managed to watch almost any Raiders game this year, it would be hard-pressed to argue this statement, as he is leading the league in penalties.
This is the second offensive tackle the Raiders have drafted in the first round in only a few years, and this one may very well end up being a mistake. Kolton Miller was an unheralded first-round selection out of UCLA when the Raiders selected him at pick 15 in 2018. The first selection in the Gruden era, he had a truly terrible debut season in the Silver and Black, tying for the league lead in sacks allowed with a fellow rookie, Brandon Parker.
Miller has developed over time into a very dependable blindside tackle for Carr, and although he had struggles early on in his career, has turned into a very good player for the Raiders.
So the question is how is it fair that Leatherwood is being criticized so much when Miller also had a very bad rookie year? Well, it is all about context here. Miller was drafted in a season in which the Raiders were in a complete rebuild, with a brand new coach and playbook. Despite leading the league in sacks allowed, Miller accounted for only eight penalties, not impressive, but keep following here.
To put this into perspective, Leatherwood in only four games has accumulated six already. And with his lack of athleticism at offensive tackle, it seems that this number will of course increase, along with his sacks allowed and pressure numbers.
Looked at as a reach and not the best tackle available, Leatherwood is living up to the words placed upon him by nearly every media pundit, when the pick was seen as delusional. Hopefully, Leatherwood can turn a corner, or offensive line coach Tom Cable can move him inside to solve the issue at guard, while hopefully salvaging the career of a young man who is off to a tough start.