The Raiders’ historic offensive pace slowed Monday night, and the team is looking into an interesting adjustment on its new-look offensive line.
First-round pick Alex Leatherwood worked at right guard Thursday, with former third-rounder Brandon Parker lining up at right tackle, The Athletic’s Tashan Reed tweets. Raiders OC Greg Olson deemed this new arrangement an attempt at getting the team’s best five O-linemen on the field together, via the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Vincent Bonsignore (on Twitter).
While this might not be a long-term adjustment, Leatherwood sliding to guard is certainly notable. This year’s No. 17 overall pick worked as Alabama’s left tackle during his junior and senior seasons. However, Leatherwood’s first foray into first-string Crimson Tide duty came at guard — as a sophomore in 2018. Leatherwood has struggled at right tackle with Las Vegas. The Raiders’ latest surprise first-round pick not only grades as Pro Football Focus’ worst tackle but has produced the lowest pass-blocking grade of any rookie through four games in the site’s 16-season history, PFF’s Austin Gayle tweets.
Parker has not been a regular starter since his 2018 rookie season. He served as a spot starter over the ensuing two seasons, lining up with the Raiders’ first-stringers seven times from 2019-20. The team’s current issues may lead to another opportunity. The Raiders jettisoned their three most experienced O-linemen in March, trading away Gabe Jackson, Rodney Hudson and Trent Brown. That has led to some predictable early issues up front.
Las Vegas is currently down starting guards Richie Incognito and Denzelle Good. The former is on short-term IR, while the latter is out for the season. The team has second-year guard John Simpson and Jermaine Eluemunor at guard, though neither is faring particularly well. While Derek Carr has offered up a strong start, the Raiders rank 27th in rushing.