The Las Vegas Raiders continued to befuddle experts during the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, selecting former Alabama offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood with the 17th selection.
After moving off 60% of their starting offensive line during NFL free agency, the Raiders opted for need over value. They also took a player in Leatherwood who ESPN had ranked as its 60th-best prospect. For our part, we had Leatherwood as our 40th-best prospect. All of this while a fellow offensive lineman in Christian Darrisaw, who most experts had graded higher than Leatherwood, was still on the board.
Raiders general manager Mike Mayock spoke to the media following his latest reach, clearly stating that he knows the pick was going to be controversial.
“We knew it would be controversial,” Mayock said, via the Las Vegas Journal-Review. “We completely understand that.”
In his third draft as a co-head of the Raiders’ personnel department with head coach Jon Gruden, making controversial picks haven’t been an exception to the rule for the former media personality. And it could very well lead to Mayock’s departure from the organization sooner rather than later.
Mike Mayock and the Las Vegas Raiders could be headed for a divorce
One source close to the situation concludes that there’s now “chatter” that the Raiders could move on from Mayock. This can’t necessarily be considered too much of a surprise. While Gruden seemingly has final say over player personnel matters, the level of misses we’ve see from this duo over the past few years has been alarming.
Sure Gruden deserves some of the blame, but the Raiders can’t even justify moving on from him a few years after signing the Super Bowl head coach to a ridiculous 10-year contract. It’s in this backdrop that the drama we’re now seeing unfold in Vegas could soon be coming to a head.
Las Vegas Raiders misses during Mike Mayock, Jon Gruden tenure
- Clelin Ferrell: Selected No. 4 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, Ferrell has recorded a combined 18 quarterback hits and 6.5 sacks in two seasons. He was selected over the likes of fellow defenders Devin White, Josh Allen, Devin Bush and Brian Burns. It was an historical reach from the Raiders’ perspective.
- Johnathan Abram: With the third of their three first-round picks in 2019, the Raiders drafted this former Mississippi State standout. Abram went on to miss all but one game of his rookie season to injury. While he did return to play a near-full slate in 2020, he graded out as Pro Football Focuses worst starting safety.
- Damon Arnette: This one stings big time. The former Ohio State star was seen as a pretty big reach with the 19th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. He appeared in nine games as a rookie, starting seven while recording just two passes defended and zero interceptions. Rumblings now suggest that Arnette has one foot out the door in Vegas. Stud wide receivers Justin Jefferson and Brandon Aiyuk were still on the board. Vegas missed out on that opportunity after reaching for Henry Ruggs in the top 12. All he did was catch 26 passes in 13 games.
These are just a few examples of misses from the Las Vegas Raiders since they brought in Mike Mayock to pair up with the aforementioned Gruden.
Coming off a pedestrian eight-win season in which the Raiders’ defense gave up 29.9 points per game, their brass thought it made sense to overhaul its offensive line rather than focus on that side of the ball. In the process, Vegas whiffed big time with its first-round selection.
It’s now led to “chatter” that Mayock could be gone, according to a source close to the situation.