The Las Vegas Raiders’ early draft picks continue to not pan out.
On Tuesday, the Raiders waived former Alabama offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood, just one year after selecting him with the 17th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.
The #Raiders are waiving former first-round pick Alex Leatherwood, per source.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 30, 2022
The decision comes after the Raiders tried to trade Leatherwood to “everyone” and were rejected, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (whose math is off; there would be 31* “nos” if the Raiders spoke to every other team in the NFL).
They tried to trade him to eveyone. Got 32 nos. https://t.co/2BwfIyZs4H
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 30, 2022
Former #Raiders first-round pick Alex Leatherwood will be subject to waivers. Any team that claims him would need to take on nearly $6 million in fully guaranteed salary over the next three years — a big reason Las Vegas couldn't find a trade partner.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 30, 2022
Leatherwood, 23, started all 17 games for the Raiders as a rookie in 2021. He had significant struggles at right tackle before moving inside to right guard at the end of the season. He was given another shot at right tackle this offseason, but he quickly fell down the Raiders’ depth chart. With upside as a run-blocker, and with alarming issues as a pass-protector, it’s easy to see Leatherwood’s next team just playing him at guard.
This caps off an absolutely brutal era of Raiders drafting from the Jon Gruden (former head coach) and Mike Mayock (former general manager) regime. The Raiders’ first-round picks from 2019-21 — and especially 2020-21 — have been gone terribly.
Raiders first-round picks from 2019-2021:
DE Clelin Ferrell, RB Josh Jacobs and S Jonathan Abram: 5th-year options declined
WR Henry Ruggs III & CB Damon Arnette: both waived following off-field incidents
Alex Leatherwood: Waived after one season
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) August 30, 2022
The Raiders even traded 2019 second-round pick Trayvon Mullen (cornerback) to the Arizona Cardinals on Tuesday:
Trade: Raiders are sending 2019 second-round pick Trayvon Mullen to the Arizona Cardinals, per sources.
Kevin Conner at @UniSportsMgmt confirmed the trade.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 30, 2022
The good news for Raiders fans is that there’s a new head coach (Josh McDaniels) and a new general manager (Dave Ziegler) running things these days in Las Vegas. And there won’t be a first-round — or second-round — bust for the Raiders in 2022; they traded their first and second-round picks to acquire superstar wide receiver Davante Adams from the Green Bay Packers.
Here’s a look at how NFL fans are reacting to the Leatherwood news and the Raiders’ draft failures:
Raiders 2019-2021 first-round pick spree will go down in history https://t.co/royiw641Jc
— Brad Spielberger, Esq. (@PFF_Brad) August 30, 2022
#raiders 1st round run has just been awful. Not sure there is a worse ROI
2019- 3 picks (Ferrell, Jacobs, and Abram-)- not one option picked up
2020- 2 picks (Ruggs and Arnette)- both cut after one and a half years
2021- 1 pick (Leatherwood)- cut after one season
— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) August 30, 2022
Raiders aggressively tried to move him to no avail.
Jermaine Eluemunor is the likely Week 1 starter at right tackle, with rookie Thayer Munford (who's impressed the staff) having a legit shot to unseat him when he gets healthy and back out at practice. https://t.co/XXXEgBe3PW
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) August 30, 2022
Since 2020, the Chiefs have rostered Willie Gay, Nick Bolton, Creed Humphrey, Skyy Moore and Bryan Cook, all drafted in the SECOND round.
In that same timeframe, the Raiders have zero FIRST-round picks remaining on their roster.
Almost impossible, but reality.
— Matt Verderame (@MattVerderame) August 30, 2022
Alex Leatherwood isn’t a bust, the Raiders (Gruden/Mayock) busted.
Leatherwood was a second-round guard prospect (ranked 45th on @TheAthletic consensus board) that played multiple positions under higher expectations/pressure than he should have had going into the NFL.
— Austin Gayle (@austingayle_) August 30, 2022
One thing is for sure about this #Raiders staff is that they don’t care about any moves the previous staff made. They’re doing what they think is best for this team no matter the cost or public perception
— Jesse Merrick (@JesseNews3LV) August 30, 2022
Of their 53 first-round picks from 1967-2019, the #Raiders cut only DE Bob Buczkowski (1986 draft) before the start of their third season.
All 3 of their first-round picks in 2020-21 (Henry Ruggs, Damon Arnette, Alex Leatherwood) were cut before the end of their 2nd seasons
— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) August 30, 2022
— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) August 30, 2022