We previously looked at his comments about the contract talks for quarterback Derek Carr. Now, let’s look at some other highlights from McDaniels’ media briefing:
McDaniels seemed to hint that the Raiders are open to giving 2021 first-round pick Alex Leatherwood another chance at right tackle. He was drafted there, but was moved to right guard after he struggled early.
“He’s an important part of it. Had great conversations with Alex so far<“ McDaniels said. ”He’s excited. He played a lot of football as a rookie and that counts for something, you know what I mean? And you can say, well it was this or that. I know this, his second year is going to feel like his second year, not his rookie year because he was in there a lot. He played a lot of snaps. He played tackle, he played guard. And we’re going to try to give him an opportunity to earn a role that’s his best fit and that’s the best fit for the Raiders. And look, we know what he was drafted for and we’re going to give him an opportunity to do such, but ultimately what we want to do at the end of the day is we’re going to let the best five guys out there. The best five guys we can put out there to protect the quarterback and run the football and be physical, that’s what we’re going to try to do.”
The Raiders have time to evaluate Leatherwood. If it doesn’t work out, he could always change back to guard if, indeed, they do give him a chance to make it work at right tackle.
Leatherwood isn’t the only 2021 Las Vegas draft pick who may get a chance to move spots. McDaniels said Nate Hobbs, who excelled as a slot cornerback as a fifth-round pick, could play the other cornerback spots.
“There will be an opportunity for Nate to compete at all those spots,” McDaniels said. “We’ve talked about that already. Nate’s a very competitive guy, he’s got a good skill set. We’re excited to work with him for sure.”
McDaniels also heaped big-time praise on star Las Vegas defensive tackle Maxx Crosby, who the team recently gave a lucrative contract extension to.
“If you can score or affect the quarterback on defense, those are two really important things to every football team, and obviously Maxx can do that,” McDaniels said. He can affect the quarterback on the other team. The other thing I love about Maxx Crosby is, he’s in the building first every day. I’m not sure I know anybody that works any harder at his craft than he does. He’s unselfish. He’s got a great team first attitude. He’s a great example for what you want in a football player. And so, to reward people that do those kind of things, you never regret those things. It’s exciting for our team and our organization to have an opportunity to watch him grow into the person and player that he’s become, and then we’re all going to be witness to it going forward.”