Raiders 2022 two-deep analysis and predictions: Offensive line
Alex Leatherwood and his fit on the offensive line
The final piece of the ’22 Raiders’ starting offensive line is Alex Leatherwood.
There will be a noticeable percentage of Raider Nation who doesn’t wish to hear this, but barring injury, Leatherwood will kick off the ’22 season as a starter in the trenches. Like many of the listed players on this 2-deep depth chart, there’s a ton of versatility here, but the right tackle position where the ’21 first-round pick entered the NFL playing makes the most sense.
Throughout camp, Leatherwood has taken a large percentage of first-team snaps at right tackle, splitting time here with Brandon Parker.
The latter half of that statement is something to really grasp, as it continues to show just how high the Raiders’ coaching staff is on Parker. Ultimately, this helps back two arguments presented here: Parker will be the first immediately replacement tackle, and, going back to the Parham at center scenario in James’ absence, the team would rather have Parker starting at tackle before Eluemunor at guard.
Of course, Parker stealing some first-team snaps at right tackle does open up a potential scenario where Parker takes over at right tackle, effectively moving Leatherwood to the guard position where he spent the latter half of the ’21 season. However, this simply doesn’t bode well with the rest of the offensive line. Let me explain.
At the end of the day, you want the best five offensive linemen out there; Josh McDaniels has expressed this sentiment when discussing the offensive line situation in Las Vegas.
We know Leatherwood will start this upcoming season, but his position is a mystery. We also know it’s practically a guarantee Parham finds a starting role on the line, either at a guard position or center. Lastly, Kolton Miller is guaranteed to lock down the left tackle position. This leaves two missing players, with one tackle, and one of the three inside spots filled.
Parham is either going to start at center or guard, but guard seems fairly obvious. The problem is, if you put Parham at center, you now have two guard spots to fill. Let’s mark them as Denzelle Good and Alex Leatherwood – Although Andre James can play guard, we know he wouldn’t; If the Raiders had any intentions of starting both James and Parham, the pair would continue on at their natural positions.
This leaves the remaining tackle spots as Miller and Parker. Is Parker a better tackle than Andre James is a center? After what James did during the second half of the 2021 season, the answer is quite obvious; James is the better player. Ultimately, this means Parham will stay at guard, so James can continue holding down the middle of the offensive line.
Now, we have one vacant guard and tackle spots. We know Leatherwood will start at one, but which? If we put Leatherwood at guard, Parker is elevated into a starting role. If right tackle, Good remains a starter on the line. Now, we ask ourselves; Is Good a better guard than Parker is a tackle? The answer is yes. By process of elimination, this leaves Leatherwood at right tackle, with Good as the second starting guard.