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Silver Minings: Raiders wrap up preseason with uncertainty along offensive line

Right side has a couple question marks

Jacksonville Jaguars v Las Vegas Raiders
Alex Leatherwood
Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders had a successful preseason, for the most part, finishing with a 4-0 record after defeating the New England Patriots last night. But if there’s one position group that has put a damper on the month it’s the offensive line and specifically, the right side.

Right tackle Brandon Parker struggled in the Hall of Fame game, allowing two sacks and earning a sub-par 55.6 PFF run-blocking grade, and he’s been out with an injury ever since then. Rookie Thayer Munford looked solid in the team’s first two outings but is banged up as well and missed the last two weeks, while Alex Leatherwood allowed a team-high seven pressures heading into Friday night. And the troubles extended beyond the edge as presumptive starting guard Lester Cotton was the Raiders’ lowest-graded lineman overall (49.0) heading into the matchup with the Patriots.

All of that uncertainty puts head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler in a tough spot with the final roster cuts looming on Tuesday, and they might be looking at options outside of the building.

According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Las Vegas feels ‘unsettled’ on the right side of the offensive line, and there’s a belief around the league that Leatherwood won’t be on the team’s final roster, whether that be via trade or release.

Fowler’s tweet does imply that McDaniels and Ziegler were going to give last year’s first-round pick one more chance to prove himself against New England. However, he continued to struggle, casting more doubt on his standing with the team.

As for Cotton, the Raiders at least have an in-house option to replace him as rookie Dylan Parham has looked solid with a 66.9 overall PFF grade heading into Friday while taking reps at all three interior spots. But it might be time to look for an outside hire at tackle unless the coaching staff feels confident rolling with Jermaine Eluemunor for Week 1, who only took 18 preseason snaps on the right edge during the first three games of the month.

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