Head coach Josh McDaniels and General Manager Dave Ziegler were not with the Raiders when the franchise drafted offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood at No. 17 overall in 2021.
But the two men decided to move on from last year’s first-round pick with this week’s roster cuts, waiving him after efforts to trade him failed.
Leatherwood has since been claimed by the Bears, where he’ll get a fresh start. Head coach Josh McDaniels wished the offensive lineman the best when asked about the decision to cut him on Wednesday.
“We’ve talked about competition since we came here in every position group and trying to give every player an opportunity to earn his job, and to earn his role — whatever role that may be,” McDaniels said in his press conference. “Some are bigger than others. And we felt like we did that. We gave everybody an opportunity to go out there and play and really perform. So there’s a lot of tough decisions that you make across the roster. You hope you get them all right. We’re not perfect at that. So, hopefully, we did the best we could for our team and we tried to make the decisions we thought would help us going forward.
“So, wish Alex nothing but the best. He did everything he could here to try to earn his role here.”
Though Leatherwood was a first-round pick just last season, it wasn’t exactly a shock that the Raiders moved on. He started last season as a right tackle before moving inside to right guard. Las Vegas moved him around during the offseason program and training camp, but reports out of Las Vegas continually indicated that Leatherwood could not seem to find any sort of consistency in his performance.
It became clear in recent weeks that the Raiders were prepared to move on.