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.
Raiders game vs. N.E. big for right side of Las Vegas' O-line. Team feels unsettled there, at multiple spots, and several teams I've spoken to are keeping an eye on OL Alex Leatherwood, believing he might be traded or released. But Raiders wanted to evaluate game before decisions— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) August 26, 2022
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.
In other Raiders’ links:
- Organization honors original Raider: the team’s radio broadcast booth will now be called “The David Humm Broadcast Booth”.
- Davante Adams eyes Lombardi: on The Pivot Podcast, the wideout said he didn't join the Silver and Black to be cute and hang out with Derek Carr but to win a Super Bowl.
- Eluemunor dedicated to success: “...being able to recreate myself this year and create the type of player I am and the person I am has been really good for me,” said the offensive tackle.
- Raiders add offensive tackle in mock draft: with college football kicking off today, it’s a good time to start looking toward April and ESPN’s Jordan Reid sent Maryland offensive tackle Jaelyn Duncan to the desert.