Sport Alex Leatherwood embracing his move from tackle to guard
Raiders shuffling offensive line, giving Alex Leatherwood practice reps at right guard
With famed edge rusher Khalil Mack and the rest of Chicago’s defense coming to Las Vegas for a Week Five matchup, it looks like the Raiders are making some changes along their offensive line. Las Vegas selected Alex Leatherwood with the 17th overall pick of this year’s draft with the idea that he would be [more]Las Vegas selected Alex Leatherwood with the 17th overall pick of this year’s draft with the idea that he would be a Day One starter at right tackle. That did end up being the case, as Leatherwood started the first four games of the season at that position.
The Raiders draftedwith the 17th pick in this year’s draft with the idea that he’d be their right tackle of the present and future.
Leatherwood may still be the long-term solution at tackle. But at least for now, the Raiders have moved him inside to right guard and replaced him at tackle with.
The change happened a couple of weeks ago, before the team’s loss to Chicago. While the Raiders didn’t have much offensive success in that contest — and there were likely other factors at play given head coach Jon Gruden’s resignation the next day — things went much better for Leatherwood and Las Vegas’ offense in Denver last week.
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Matt Boldy is one of Minnesota’s top prospects after being the 12th overall pick back in 2019. Boldy wrapped up his college career last season at Boston College with 31 points in 22 games to lead the Eagles in scoring before turning pro and finishing up the year in the minors with AHL Iowa. He averaged more than a point per game there as well with 18 points in 14 contests, putting him in a spot to make a legitimate push for a regular role in Minnesota’s lineup coming into training camp.
For his part, Leatherwood has embraced the change to guard, saying he felt he’d be of more use inside to improve the offense.
“I’ll be a tight end. I’ll play free safety. It doesn’t matter,” Leatherwood said, via Vinny Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I just want to help the team”
Leatherwood acknowledged that the Raiders were having trouble in the run game, which was better against Denver. And while Leatherwood played guard during his sophomore season at Alabama, getting back at the position for a second week made him feel “a thousand percent” more comfortable.
“It’s like, not as much space and it’s a little slower up in there, so naturally it just comes a little easier,” Leatherwood said. “It’s been a lot of fun.”
Moving Leatherwood inside has seemed to steady Las Vegas’ offensive line for now. But whoever the Raiders hire as their next full-time head coach will have to decide if that’s where Leatherwood should be for the long haul.
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