Raiders cutting Alex Leatherwood highlights failures of Jon Gruden, Mike Mayock regime

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The Raiders released tackle Alex Leatherwood on Tuesday, just a year after taking him with the 17th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. Cutting a first-round draft pick after just one season is a stunning move — except that with Raiders draft picks of the Jon Gruden/Mike Mayock era, it’s actually not much of a surprise.

Gruden was the Raiders’ head coach and Mayock the general manager for three drafts, 2019-2021, and the Raiders made some astonishingly bad selections during that time.

Leatherwood is actually the third consecutive Raiders first-round draft pick not to even make it through two years on the roster: The Raiders had two first-round picks in 2020, Henry Ruggs and Damon Arnette, and they were both released during the 2021 season.

The Raiders had three first-round picks in 2019, and those three fared better — but not a lot better: Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs and Johnathan Abram have all struggled to make a major impact, and the Raiders didn’t pick up the fifth-year option on any of their contracts.

And the bad drafting under Gruden and Mayock went beyond the first round. Trayvon Mullen, the Raiders’ 2019 second-round pick, was traded to the Cardinals yesterday for a conditional seventh-round pick. The Raiders had three third-round picks in 2020 — Lynn Bowden, Bryan Edwards and Tanner Muse — and none of them is still with the team, either.

First-year Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler didn’t inherit a lot of good young talent when they took over the team that Gruden and Mayock left behind. The Raiders’ draft picks of recent years have been a lot of misses.

75 responses to “Raiders cutting Alex Leatherwood highlights failures of Jon Gruden, Mike Mayock regime

  1. I honestly thought they were gonna build through the Khalil Mack trade. Doesn’t look like a whole lot came from that.

  2. This is what happens when you constantly try to be the smartest guy in the room on draft day ignoring data and film and only listen to ego

  3. They also traded a 3rd and a 5th for a player that never played a game for them and is an inspiring rap artist now. How the heck did Carr survive this train wreck?

  4. We do have Maxx Crosby, Hunter Renfrow, Nate Hobbs, Devine Diablo, Tre’von Moehrig and Malcolm Koonce, virtually all starters, because of Gruden and Mayock. Even Josh Jacobs is arguably a top-ten RB, despite the knocks on him, and Abram is also still starting and may yet turn the corner in this new system. People also conveniently forget that Henry Ruggs was on the rise before the tragic incident that no one could have foreseen. Nevertheless, all that said, whiffing on Ferrell, Arnette and Leatherwood is way too much to overcome and downright indefensible.

  5. Didn’t Gruden and Mayock turn this team around to a playoff team in 3 years ? Why no mention of the other successful draft picks of Crosby, Renfrow etc.? Signing D. Waller from Ravens practice squad too. Jacobs was a pro bowl running back too. Seems like one way street on the negativity. Ruggs was an off field issue that derailed his career, nothing to do with the talent. Hopefully the new regime will continue to build on the 10 win season and playoff birth that Gruden/Mayock started. Go Raiders!

  6. “Even Josh Jacobs is arguably a top-ten RB, despite the knocks on him”

    Top 10 RB in what ???

    Top 10 RBs named Josh ?

  7. While they got lucky on some pix, overall you gotta give them a “C” grade. Too many 1st round blunders for a myriad of reasons. Their substandard drafting has mainly contributed to why they are behind Chargers & Chiefs in AFCW, w/ Denver nipping at their heels.

  8. Mayock seemed to have an entire draft agenda of trying to prove how smart he was by REACHING and OVERDRAFTING players. There are always a few guys like that and it never works out. You wanna try that in later rounds or undrafted Free Agents? sure…but to do it with your top picks? Just asking to fail.

  9. What I find interesting is Mayock,when he was a draft analyst, seemed to be really good. Much better than the other 2 guys that get so much air time.
    I wonder if he was over ruled by Gruden some?

  10. I still think leatherwood had potential to develop, hes very solid when it comes to run blockin and mauling dudes but he gets bullied on 90% of pass protection plays. Mullen is a borderline #1 and forsure a #2 corner for most teams in the NFL i get the injuries are an issue but im still bummed to lose him.

  11. 100% media bias against the Raiders. Both of them turned the team into a playoff team right?Before that not so much. Raiders against the world always and Chucky is a good coach.

  12. I honestly believe the busted picks were Gruden’s and the hits were Mayock’s. I wish Mike was still with the team in a talent evaluation role.

  13. Bucs fan who watched the loaded 2002 Super Bowl champions wither away into irrelevance due to bad drafts by Gruden says ‘hi’.

    Heck of a coach, but should NOT be in charge of personnel.

  14. Funny how they both came from TV where they were paid many millions to tell others what they SHOULD do. I guess actually doing it is much harder…

  15. Mayock and Gruden seemed astute and insightful when they were TV personalities. Maybe this shows us why Mel Kiper has never been an NFL general manager. Mel’s too smart to risk his credibility by climbing into the trenches.

  16. wingswbluecheese says:
    August 31, 2022 at 4:53 am
    They also traded a 3rd and a 5th for a player that never played a game for them and is an inspiring rap artist now. How the heck did Carr survive this train wreck?

    —————————————–

    And a 3rd for Martavius Bryant.

  17. What I remember very well though is all of the Raiders fans who kept saying they were going to ball out every year and that Mayock and Gruden knew what they were doing while everyone else did not know the plan. Guess we know the truth now.

  18. It’s not article just based in negativity, those first round
    Swings and misses are huge . They may have been
    Good at locating diamonds in the rough but at the same time were downright lousy when evaluating top tier players from college.

    Yes they got the Raiders into the playoffs but imagine if a few of those early round picks had actually panned out – guys that
    May have actually been able help them when making that playoff push —

  19. Worst part is Mayock will go back to some sweet TV job getting paid millions to talk about the draft and dummies will listen to him.

  20. feartheshieldonblacksunday says:
    August 31, 2022 at 5:45 am
    Didn’t Gruden and Mayock turn this team around to a playoff team in 3 years ? Why no mention of the other successful draft picks of Crosby, Renfrow etc.? Signing D. Waller from Ravens practice squad too. Jacobs was a pro bowl running back too. Seems like one way street on the negativity. Ruggs was an off field issue that derailed his career, nothing to do with the talent. Hopefully the new regime will continue to build on the 10 win season and playoff birth that Gruden/Mayock started. Go Raiders!

    ——————-

    They did not have a winning record any year Gruden coached and were 3-2 when he was fired. The team rallied around Rich Bisaccia last year for that playoff birth that was more about coming together as a team than talent and then they fired the coach who got them to the playoffs. That coach was not Gruden.

    So they hit on a 4th round pic, 5th round pick and a practice squad guy, doesn’t make up for whiffing on what 5 1st round picks and 10-12 high draft picks overall including a #4 overall in a span of 3.5 years.

  21. Basically wasted All those extra picks from the Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper trades and next to nothing to show for it! Guaranteed Mike Mayock will never, ever get hired by another NFL team again!

  22. Pump the brakes a little here. We’re assuming these new guys are experts. Every time someone hires a new regime they think they nailed it. But, more often than not, they were wrong. There are 32 teams in the league and 10 have new coaches this year. Doesn’t that tell you anything? And who hired this new regime? That should also tell you something. And isn’t this the same coach that drafted Tim Tebow in the first round? Like I said, let’s pump the brakes before we put these guys in the HOF. And besides all that, the oldest trick in the book is to take over a team and make a headline grabbing roster move to get a reaction from the media. But also, what if Leatherwood goes on to become a good pro player? We’re assuming an awful lot from an unproven group. Did I mention nobody from New England has ever succeeded when they got separated from Tom Brady? Hello out there. Anybody home?

  23. I disagree. This action highlights the shortcomings of Alex Leatherwood himself. Clearly Saban did not teach him how to play OT or OG. More importantly this forces ESPN et al ‘draft experts’ to admit that they are TERRIBLE talent evaluators. But their egos will not let that admission ever take place.

  24. Don’t forget even with all of the on the field and draft failures they are still back to back to back off season champs.

  25. @feartheshieldonblacksunday
    Calling yourselves a playoff team after your 2nd one and done in your only appearances in the playoffs in the past 2 decades is “technically correct” but also hilarious.

    @Surge92
    The names you mentioned after Crosby and Renfrow are “virtually all starters” because of the lack of talent on the Raiders. They would be backups on actual playoff contending teams

  26. Corruption, scandals, horrid personnel decisions….It’s the Raiders way. Can’t blame the Gruden/Mayock for when Carr is getting sacked every other play because of the Devante Adams trade. The Raiders cut their OL personnel when they need it more than ever. This team is a joke.

  27. This will be the leading excuses for the failed season. Donko Raiders fans are crying already in delusion :the Raiders can win the SB” LOLOLOLOL

    4-13 – last place.

  28. This goes way beyond Gruden and Mayock. Who hired them? Who decided that moving a team full of 20 year old millionaires to Las Vegas was a smart move? This team is run by a circus act!

  29. Those defending the Ruggs pick are living some revisionist history. The clear consensus was that Ruggs was raw and had already demonstrated off-field issues, while Lamb and Jeudy were the best receivers in the draft. Mayock had his choice of all three, and just like his Leatherwood and Ferrel picks, he bucked the consensus and committed to his own ego. Everyone that wasn’t a Raiders fan knew that was a bad pick. As for the “good” picks of Crosby/Renfrow/etc, they may have been solid picks but the misuse of draft capital is glaring.

  30. Let’s not forget that the new regime inherited a playoff team. They just took too many chances in the first round. Ferrell might end up playing 10 years as a backup. It’s not his fault he was taken 4th. If he had been taken in the 2nd or 3rd round, he would have been viewed more favorably. Leatherwood was an Alabama lineman, and there are a lot of successful Bama linemen in the league. What happened to Ruggs couldn’t be predicted. I still like Mayock, but between him and Matt Millen, it will be hard for a TV person to be given control of a football team again.

  31. wingswbluecheese says:
    August 31, 2022 at 4:53 am
    They also traded a 3rd and a 5th for a player that never played a game for them and is an inspiring rap artist now. How the heck did Carr survive this train wreck?

    ________________________________

    I wouldn’t call him inspiring 😉

  32. The bash Gruden media campaign is in full effect. If the dude were to just lay low and go away no one would be writing articles like this. Since he has decided to clamor for another chance (while suing the league) the media has shifted back into attack mode!

    Gruden had some hard whiffs and some solid later round dingers. I liken him to todays baseball hitters who strike out way more often as they are always swinging for the fences. Not a great way to run an nfl franchise. Nothing wrong with hitting a double with your first round pick… it’s not as flashy as the ‘we out smarted the league’ home run, but it’s better than a strikeout!

  33. Mullen will end up being a 6th round pick but that’s still crazy cheap considering how good he is, his potential and what he’s shown on the field.

  34. Would not be surprised to see Cleveland grab Leatherwood. Perhaps Bill Callahan will turn him into another reclamation project by switching him to Guard? Callahan did that w/ Ereck Flowers (1st draft pick by NYG as an OT, then cut).

  35. Jacob’s has over 3000 yards, 28 yds, in 3 years. And he had injuries. Kinda being little too tough on him

  36. Yeah I mean,it’s difficult to predict if a guy is going to make it in the NFL, Leatherwood has physical gifts but doesn’t seem to be there mentally. I wasn’t upset when they drafted him, they really needed a right tackle. Arnette, though, I dunno man there must have been warning signs that he wasn’t the most distinguished gentleman. Anyways they have a good squad put together,there’s still some holes but it’s a good team.

  37. For all of you looking at the failures of the Raiders, remember they were a playoff team last year. Sure, there were bad draft decisions but they did better than most of the other teams in the NFL. They overcame losing their head coach and losing a player on the rise due to drunk driving and still made the playoffs.

  38. You can tell Mayock always thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room. Signing Antonio Brown was another brilliant move.

  39. dryzzt23 says:
    August 31, 2022 at 8:16 am
    I disagree. This action highlights the shortcomings of Alex Leatherwood himself. Clearly Saban did not teach him how to play OT or OG. More importantly this forces ESPN et al ‘draft experts’ to admit that they are TERRIBLE talent evaluators. But their egos will not let that admission ever take place.
    ______________

    Those draft experts universally questioned the Leatherwood selection. Saban does not teach individual players how to play their positions.

  40. Amazingly they made the playoffs after missing on most of their top picks other than Kolton Miller and bad FA signings. They hit on later round picks Maxx Crosby and Hunter Renfrow and found Darren Waller on the Ravens practice squad. Excited what the new regime is currently doing in short time on the job

  41. After 1 year they decide that a guy that many people had as a round 1,2 or 3 pick can’t play any position on the offensive line or provide depth? Either the kid has a terrible attitude or the new regime really really wanted to shoot themselves in the foot to highlight how bad the old regime was.

  42. Gruden’s success as a coach is average at best. That Tampa SB team was all Tony Dungy. Gruden just walked into it.

  43. Funny to see Raider fans on here defending Gruden’s “”success”.
    Keep talking about that one playoff appearance…

    The AFC west is super impressed!

  44. The failure falls on Davis. He gave an overrated coach that was out of football a ridiculous contract, and hired a TV draft “guru” as GM. They did what everyone, other than Mark apparently, knew they’d do. Fail miserably.

  45. Look at all the Gruden apologists. Leaving out what he did off the field, he was a mediocre coach that wanted all the control. This is exactly the reason that Al Davis traded him to Tampa. He tore down a SB winning team he inherited because he thought he was the smartest guy in the room. When Mark Davis hired him and gave him all the power, Gruden once again thought he was the smartest guy in the room and tore down a playoff caliber roster and never had a winning season with what he built. Yeah he was 3-2 when he resigned, but there were numerous reports that the players felt that a weight was lifted after Gruden left. They played harder for Bisaccia and weren’t just there for a paycheck like it appeared under Gruden.

  46. Surge92 says:
    August 31, 2022 at 5:07 am
    We do have Maxx Crosby, Hunter Renfrow, Nate Hobbs, Devine Diablo, Tre’von Moehrig and Malcolm Koonce, virtually all starters, because of Gruden and Mayock. Even Josh Jacobs is arguably a top-ten RB, despite the knocks on him.

    _________________________

    Jacobs is barely in the top 25! Desperation and delusion!

    2022 NFL Rankings

    Rank Player Name
    1 Jonathan Taylor
    2 Christian McCaffrey
    3 Austin Ekeler
    4 Dalvin Cook
    5 Derrick Henry
    6 Joe Mixon
    7 Saquon Barkley
    8 Aaron Jones
    9 Najee Harris
    10 D’Andre Swift
    11 Alvin Kamara
    12 Leonard Fournette
    13 Nick Chubb
    14 Javonte Williams
    15 James Conner
    16 Ezekiel Elliott
    17 Elijah Mitchell
    18 Travis Etienne Jr.
    19 Breece Hall
    20 AJ Dillon
    21 Dameon Pierce
    22 David Montgomery
    23 Chase Edmonds
    24 Cam Akers

    25 Josh Jacobs

    26 J.K. Dobbins
    27 Rashaad Penny
    28 Damien Harris
    29 Devin Singletary

  47. When you cut a punter without even talking to him and to make a statement, you have already failed. A punter, really?

  48. Gruden is a good man. It was a witch hunt and they found something. It could happen to any coach in this league, some are protected and some arent.

  49. Pretty simple, Former players that become TV commentators/announcers/pundits guys are clueless about how to evaluate talent. Kevin Mond comes to mind.

  50. Gruden’s success as a coach is average at best. That Tampa SB team was all Tony Dungy.
    ==========

    This is an exhausted take that needs to be put to bed.

    Dungy had 4 tries to get to the Super Bowl.. he only managed 2 Playoff wins. 6 points in a Title game, he only needed 12 to win.

    Gruden took over and immediately won the Super Bowl. Thats not a coincidence.

  51. Mas tequila! says:
    August 31, 2022 at 8:51 am

    Name the team, you can list multiple failed picks and terrible personnel moves.

    ________

    Patriots
    Chiefs
    Packers
    Rams
    Steelers
    Ravens
    49’ers
    Seahawks
    Arizona

    Should I keep going…..No because there is no team worse at making mistakes in the NFL except maybe the Lions – than the rudderless Raiders.

  52. Mas tequila! says: August 31, 2022 at 8:51 am

    Name the team, you can list multiple failed picks and terrible personnel moves.

    ________

    Patriots Chiefs Packers Rams Steelers Ravens 49’ers Seahawks Arizona — Should I keep going…..No because there is no team worse at making mistakes in the NFL except maybe the Lions – than the rudderless Raiders.

  53. Gruden choose those high draft picks, and Mayock and his scouts made the later picks. Gruene sucks as talent evaluator always did… why did Davis give him total control?

  54. Okay… it could be me… but doesn’t this sound a little like the Raiders are trying to go overboard to prove a pint that Gruden/Mayock was a bad combo ??

    How BAD could Alex Learherwood actually be ????

    We see teams take years to develop 6th rounders into starters… You mean to tell me the new staff couldn’t coach this kid up ??

    But you cut this kid an incur a massive Cap hit ??? You are on the hook for the money.. why not give him more than a year???

  55. Always liked Mayock as an analyst and he certainly has his share of the blame but I’d guarantee if you ask anyone that’s ever worked with Gruden and also judging the contract he got he was the one with final say over most decisions.

  56. Alex Learherwood won the Outland trophy…

    Sure.. he shouldn’t have probably been a first round pick, but he was rated as 2nd rounder by most scouts…

    What I still can’t figure out is why he wasn’t given more time considering he was already a sunk cost ???

  57. It highlights how little those TV experts really know. In this case you got to see it play out over a number of years rather than just forgetting the insights and moving on.

  58. It would be interesting to see the list of Mayock’s preferred picks if/when he was overruled by Gruden. Not that it would be easy to believe, but hopefully there’s a tell-all book one day.

  59. Their current animus against Jacobs is pure spite. Trying to make old regime look as bad as possible. Perfectly fine draft pick. Bell cow runner for them. His gut time running against SD is why they made the playoffs last year.

    Didn’t pick up his option, played him in preseason. Don’t do that to your bell cow. Devalued now because obvious trying to replace him if they don’t kill him by running him like a slogged mule first.

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