Thursday was a busy day for the Las Vegas Raiders, and it was not all positive, as Khalil Mack makes his return to the AFC West.
Just two days after the Russell Wilson trade, the AFC West headlines the NFL once more: Khalil Mack is back – Sort of.
Mack is indeed back in the AFC West, just not wearing the Silver and Black he sported for the first four years of his NFL career. The Chicago Bears dealt Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers, in exchange for a 2022 second-round pick plus a 2023 sixth-rounder.
With a new dynamic duo in Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa, the already glaring problem Vegas faces at offensive line just became even more severe;
This past season, the Las Vegas Raiders rotated Brandon Parker and first-round pick Alex Leatherwood at the right tackle position. The two allowed eight sacks each and combined for 23 penalties. Leatherwood is hoping for a better sophomore year and Brandon Parker is entering free agency.
Although most of the rookie’s season was a struggle, there was one game in which Leatherwood played particularly well in a Week 18 matchup against the same Chargers who acquired Mack.
Leatherwood went head-to-head with [Joey] Bosa, allowing just one single pressure. This might’ve been exactly what the Alabama lineman needed to give his confidence a hefty boost following a poor rookie campaign.
What Raider Nation can take away from this one performance is Leatherwood was able to dominate against a four-time Pro Bowler; The same Pro Bowler who now has Khalil Mack as his counterpart.
When it comes to which of the two Leatherwood will face-off against in 2022, the answer is still unclear, but recent history leans towards more battles with Bosa.
The elder of the Bosa brothers spent a majority of this past season on the right side, while Mack spent most of his time off to the left. If this pattern stays true, Kolton Miller, who restructured his contract with Kenyan Drake to free up a combined $14 million in cap space, will have his hands full as well.