PFF: Raiders’ OL Alex Leatherwood Took a Massive Step Forward This Week in Pass Protection

The Raiders’ 36-33 win over the Cowboys on Thanksgiving had a lot of positive storylines, but one of the most encouraging was the play of rookie guard Alex Leatherwood.

It’s been a rough first year for Leatherwood, particularly in terms of pass protection. But on Thursday, Leatherwood turned in his best pass-blocking performance of the year, according to Pro Football Focus analytics.

Pro Football Focus uses an evaluation process that grades players anywhere from 0 to 100 based on their interpretation of the game film. Before Thursday, Leatherwood’s highest grade in pass protection came in week 10 against the Chiefs (63.8). His 82.5 pass-blocking grade against the Cowboys was by far his best of the season.

Some have compared Leatherwood’s difficult first year to Kolton Miller’s rookie year in 2018, but there is no question that Leatherwood’s rookie year has been worse. Leatherwood is the second-most penalized offensive lineman in the NFL (12) and he has the second-worst run blocking grade among all offensive lineman with at least 250 snaps (Pro Football Focus).

The good news, though, is that Leatherwood has improved steadily since being moved to offensive guard. According to Pro Football Focus analytics, Leatherwood’s four worst games of the year were all at right tackle. If he continues to improve at guard, the Raiders might be tempted to leave him there and hunt for a new right tackle in the offseason.

twitter: @raidersbeat


4 thoughts on “PFF: Raiders’ OL Alex Leatherwood Took a Massive Step Forward This Week in Pass Protection

  1. It’s way TOO EARLY to write him off as a bust. His improvement is encouraging, though. Let’s hope it continues.

  2. in my mind, the main issue that faces us on the o line in general and leatherwood, in particular, is NO VETERAN input.. let’s face it, the only guy we have w more than 1 year as a starter is Kolton.. that’s it.. all 2nd 3rd stringers up front after that.. and let’s face reality, Brandon parker is by far the worst right tackle in YEARS to play for the raiders.. how are u supposed to learn to play your position, if there’s NO ONE to teach u except the coach.. u have got to have a reputable player, to help these guys.. the fact they played as well as they have is a credit to their toughness, and flat out desire..

  3. Leatherwood is still so young and as was mentioned before, he’s had no mentor. Great players don’t just wake up one day and suddenly they’re great. There’s a learning process and part of that process is growing pains. He’s going to be an all pro before it’s all said and done. Love you, Nation!

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