Raiders should’ve exercised more patience with Alex Leatherwood
Run Blocking Prowess
The first thing that maybe some fans overlook is Leatherwood’s run-blocking abilities. He’s still a mauler, which only helps to strengthen his case for playing inside. Leatherwood should’ve been developing him inside, not trying to “fix him” as a tackle. As with any new incoming regime, the Raiders’ coaching staff probably figured they could do what Gruden and Tom Cable couldn’t. Regrettably, that wasn’t the case, and if you think about it, Leatherwood ended up paying the price.
Coming out of college, Leatherwood displayed an ability to stand up to the bull rush. However, his anchoring abilities were geared better to playing inside. At six-foot-five and 312 pounds, Leatherwood simply didn’t have the right size for a tackle. Yes, mass could’ve been added over time, but you had a guard that was already powerful in terms of run-blocking with the athletic ability to pull and open up run lanes.
Scouts raved about Leatherwood’s athleticism when they looked at his college tape, highlighting features such as his bend, hips, and overall movement. Did Leatherwood forget how to be an athlete? Of course not. It just never made sense why the Raiders decided to consistently force him out of his comfort zone to the outside.
Leatherwood’s quickness and lateral movement were often on display. He showed an ability to quickly get off his block or disengage and then help pave the way for the running back. It’s obvious that the Raiders have someone with potential as a guard.