PFF: Raiders RG Alex Leatherwood has career day vs. Broncos in Week 16

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It was certainly an up-and-down day for rookie right guard Alex Leatherwood in Week 16. On one hand, Leatherwood struggled once again as a pass protector as the Broncos pressured Derek Carr all day long.

But on the other hand, he and Brandon Parker were a big reason why they won that game. In the second half, the right side of the offensive line dominated as the Raiders ran for 129 yards. Leatherwood and the rest of the offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage as they had 13 first downs in the second half alone.

According to Pro Football Focus, it was the best performance of Leatherwood’s career so far as he earned a grade of 70.8. Here is what the site had to say about the first-round pick in Week 16:

“Leatherwood posted the best overall PFF game grade of his season against Denver, despite struggling as a pass-blocker. His 70.8 mark was the first time he has cleared 65.0 thanks to some impressive work in the run game on 38 such snaps. As a pass-blocker, he allowed five pressures on 31 pass-blocking snaps to earn just a 19.0 PFF grade.”

Leatherwood still has a long way to go as a pass protector, but his ability to move defenders in the run game is why he was a first-round pick. He is incredibly physical and athletic, which makes him a nightmare on plays where he is asked to pull.

It is worth mentioning that Leatherwood has improved a ton since the first month of the season. According to PFF’s grades, Leatherwood had an average grade of 38.5 in the first four games of the year. Since then, it’s gone up to 56.6.

That still isn’t good enough to justify the first-round draft capital that the Raiders spent on him, but he has improved. That’s exactly what the Raiders were hoping for when they inserted him into the starting lineup in Week 1.

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