The Las Vegas Raiders decided that it was time to part ways with their first-round pick from just a year ago, Alex Leatherwood. In many ways, the move seemed inevitable with the way things were going during the preseason. As this site Tweed out earlier today, the new regime isn’t messing around.
Nevertheless, the Raiders might’ve been better off exercising a little bit more patience with regard to Leatherwood. He was, after all, just entering his second season. This might be a move that could end up coming back to bite Silver and Black’s new brain trust.
We can all agree that the Raiders’ previous regime, headed by Jon Gruden and, to a certain extent, Mike Mayock, did a terrible job with their first-round picks. In hindsight, the argument could be made that only Kolton Miller proved to be a successful draft choice (speaking in terms of the first round). Josh Jacobs gets a nod based on his production and his exploits late last season, essentially carrying the Raiders into the playoffs.
Though many point to the depreciation factor of his position, his health and durability concerns are examples.
Back to Leatherwood, his career got off to a rough start based on his status as a reach according to the media. Leatherwood was clearly over drafted and, to make matters worse, he was forced into playing a position that wasn’t making the most of his talent. From the outset, the Raiders made it clear that Leatherwood was to be the right tackle of the future, despite excelling as a left tackle and inside as a guard at Alabama.
Even though his days in Silver and Black were numbered, there could end up being some truth to Leatherwood’s still ending up as a quality NFL lineman. From a neutral point of view, Leatherwood still has tools that could lead to a successful professional career; it just won’t be with the Raiders.