The Las Vegas Raiders will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars tonight in the Hall of Fame Game, and all eyes will be on 2021 first-round pick, Alex Leatherwood.
The Raiders are in Canton as the team gets ready to play the first scrimmage game of the ’22 NFL season in a contest against Jacksonville. The first depth chart has been released, and players across the roster are ready to step onto the field and play football – Some players solely for the love of the game, and others present their case in a position battle.
Right tackle Alex Leatherwood is the epitome of the latter half of that above statement, as he fights to hold down the starting right tackle position.
Leatherwood and Brandon Parker are running a close race to get the right tackle job, but Leatherwood will get the nod heading into the first preseason game. Parker will still get run himself, starting at left tackle in Kolton Miller’s absence. This means while Leatherwood gets the chance to prove why he should be the Silver and Black’s right tackle in 2022, so does Parker.
There’s been a fight for the position all through camp, with Parker looking like he’s had the upper hand at times. Even through what looked like the worst of it, Leatherwood has remained sharp and focused, ending this camp week with an impressive showing. Perhaps that was the deciding factor in giving the second-year Raider the nod at right tackle in the first preseason contest.
The 23-year-old must hold his own in the NFL’s first scrimmage game of the season, or he can lose his job just as quickly as he earned it.
Raiders Leatherwood won the sprint, but not the marathon
While the Alabama alum is heading into the preseason as the team’s starting right tackle, it by no means indicates the fight is over. Someone had to start at the position, and Leatherwood got the nod.
If Leatherwood doesn’t deliver tonight, Parker may take over as the right tackle throughout the remainder of the preseason. If this happens and Parker performs well, the Raiders won’t look back, subjecting Leatherwood to a backup role on the offensive line.
The new-look Las Vegas Raiders hit the field on Thursday night, battling it out against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2022 Hall of Fame Game.
Alex Leatherwood wants to show he belonged in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, and he has the chance to do that. If he doesn’t capitalize on that chance early, it may go away, potentially forever. There’s a lot at stake through the preseason for Leatherwood, and it all starts tonight.