Raiders RT Alex Leatherwood improved in third NFL start

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When the Raiders announced that Alex Leatherwood would be their starting right tackle on Day 1, we know that it would mean some early-season struggles. But the hope was always that he would improve with more snaps.

To Leatherwood’s credit, he has gotten better. Leatherwood allowed two sacks in Week 1 and then another in Week 2. He did not allow a sack in Week 3 despite playing 83 snaps for the Raiders.

In a recent article by Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus, he broke down every first-round pick and their performance in Week 3. Leatherwood continues to be one of the worst-graded first-round picks, but he is improving:

“It says something about Leatherwood’s first few NFL starts that a 47.5 overall grade against Miami represents his best performance so far. Leatherwood was beaten inside a couple of times in the run game, but the biggest issues remained as a pass blocker. On one occasion he was knocked on his backside by a power rush and surrendered six total pressures from 36 pass-blocking snaps.”

Leatherwood allowing six pressures and four quarterback hits is still far too many. But he didn’t commit a penalty, which is a big step after accounting for four flags in the first two weeks. It’s at least a step in the right direction.

The Raiders aren’t expecting him to be a dominant tackle right now. But they want to see small improvements each week, much like what happened with Kolton Miller during his rookie season. It might be hard to see it, but Leatherwood is steadily improving.

Up next are the Los Angeles Chargers and Joey Bosa. It could be another tough night at the office for Leatherwood, but the Raiders are hoping that he can survive that matchup in Week 4.

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