One of the reasons why the Raiders took Alex Leatherwood in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft was that they deemed him “NFL-ready”. They believe that he is a plug-and-play starter after several seasons of playing left tackle in the SEC.
However, we know that even the transition from the SEC to the NFL can be a big one for even the best prospects. That’s why it wasn’t surprising to see Leatherwood struggle some in his first NFL outing last week.
In a recent article by Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus, he took a look at a few high-profile picks who disappointed in Week 1 of the preseason. Leatherwood did show up on the list after allowing a few pressures. Here is what the site had to say about the former Alabama tackle against Seattle.
“With an offensive line in the midst of an overhaul, Las Vegas really needs Leatherwood to pan out and hit the ground running. He may yet, but his debut showed there was still some work to do. He was fine against the Seahawks when actually blocking the right guy, but he gave up a pair of pressures on plays where he failed to read the correct rusher and allowed them a path to the quarterback.
Leatherwood was stood up a couple of times in the run game, but those are mistakes you can live with. Not being on the same page as the rest of the line and letting free defenders get at the quarterback is something you can’t. It’s only his first game action, but Leatherwood needs to clean that up before the regular season.”
While Monson was a bit critical of his performance, Leatherwood hasn’t done anything to suggest he won’t be the team’s Week 1 starter at right tackle. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Despite a shaky preseason performance, the Raiders are still very high on their right tackle and his long-term future with the team.
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