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Las Vegas Raiders’ first-round bust Alex Leatherwood continues to struggle, leading to a ton of questions

Vincent Frank

A first-round pick of the Las Vegas Raiders back in 2021, offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood is running with their backups against the Miami Dolphins during Saturday’s preseason game.

Even for a Raiders team that has major question marks at right tackle, Leatherwood has not been able to catch the eye of their new coaching staff. In fact, reports from Henderson have not been positive relating to the former Alabama standout.

That was taken to a whole new level with Leatherwood struggling to pass protect against a majority of Miami’s reserve defenders. That included allowing a sack of Nick Mullens in the first half before actually being pulled in favor of Jackson Barton. It just wasn’t a good scene in South Beach.

The new Raiders power duo of head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler don’t have a built-in relationship with Alex Leatherwood. It has shown with how the pair views the young former top-17 pick.

Remember, Leatherwood was largely viewed as a reach when the Raiders’ previous brass in head coach Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock selected him in the 2021 NFL Draft. Nothing we’ve seen from Leatherwood since changes that dynamic.

Related: Why Jermaine Eluemunor is the Las Vegas Raiders’ best option at right tackle

Sans Alex Leatherwood, right tackle is a major issue for the Raiders

alex leatherwood, las vegas raiders
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, it’s rather clear Leatherwood doesn’t fit into the starting right tackle equation. Holdover Brandon Parker opened camp as the starter. But he’s dealing with an undisclosed injury after yielding three sacks in the preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Rookie Thayer Munford Jr. could also fit into the equation.

But for now, we’re seeing a major hole in front of recently-extended quarterback Derek Carr heading into the Raiders’ Week 1 game against the Los Angeles Chargers. After all, Joey Bosa will be lining up against whoever starts for Vegas. Despite this, the Raiders don’t have interest in bringing in an outside free agent.

For a team that has built up a roster capable of competing in the AFC West this season, having that one major hole at an all-important position can’t be seen as a good thing.

As for Leatherwood, he’s the latest example of the Raiders’ former brass struggling to find productive players in the NFL Draft. In reality, the combo of McDaniels and Ziegler might simply say enough is enough and move off Alex Leatherwood altogether.