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.