Raiders

Raiders Fans Need To Breathe, Exercise Patience With Front Office

Las Vegas Raiders fans have a tendency to overreact and criticize without seeing the big picture sometimes. It’s understandable given the state of their team for the last generation. However, take a deep breath and step back, this draft might turn out to be a good one.

It’s the Raider draft experience: You spend so much time getting to know the board and the players who are available at the pick, then Roger Goodell calls the pick. 

It’s never who you expected and it feels like an almost surreal lapse in thought; like the player he named isn’t even a real name. It comes right out of left-field and hits you like Johnathan Abram’s friendly fire.

Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden did it again Thursday night, selecting Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood at number 17 with Christian Darrisaw and Teven Jenkins still on the board. You had the right to be livid, but likely slept on it and it’s not the end of the world for a couple of reasons.

Let’s breathe, Raider Nation.

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The Cable Effect

Let’s 100% clear: Tom Cable should never be in charge of a draft war room. However, he should get a lot of say in the type of offensive linemen we bring in. Since right tackle was a desperate need it makes some sense. The Raiders have a history under Mayock of picking their perceived best player available at a need on Day 1.

According to Mayock, Tom Cable was pushing hard for Leatherwood. He saw him as a stud tackle for his system that he could coach up to be great. Given his track record, you shouldn’t doubt him just yet.

Could he have had the same results with Darrisaw? Maybe. But he knows his system better than anyone, and you have to trust that.

The Raiders got cleaned out on the offensive line this year and had a massive hole. Not trying to fill it would have been the death knell for their offense.

Fills a Need

Leatherwood does fill a need. We may have reached, but we didn’t reach for a running back or a player that doesn’t help the Raiders win games.

By most accounts, he’s a pretty good player. Held his own at Alabama, award winner, great physical tools, and no health issues. The argument that we could have traded down always stings a little bit but there was a run on tackles in the mid-first. 

We can’t know for sure if Leatherwood would have been a target but it might not be completely wild to think that. When the first round ended, a lot of players that were projected to go early were left on the board for Day 2.

Does that mean the team’s brass outsmarted everyone? Not likely. However, there was a little more unpredictability in how this draft shaped out late. Minnesota could have taken Leatherwood instead of Darrisaw. A team could have jumped back into the late first-round for him. 

If he really was the guy you have to shoot your shot and take him.

Give It Time

Even if you think this was malpractice by Gruden and Mayock, these things do take time to pan out. After all, these reaches in the first round like Clelin Ferrell and Damon Arnette are becoming commonplace.

It’s not working out so far.

That’s not to say that the trend can’t change with Leatherwood though. Whether you think he’s a stud in the making or a colossal bust it usually takes a good three years to determine the worth of a pick. We’ll have to keep an eye on him compared to Darrisaw and Teven Jenkins. Those were the only other possibilities for tackles in that slot. 

If this does work out the Raiders have filled their unit with two cornerstones in Leatherwood and Miller. If it doesn’t, they take a huge step back after they jettisoned 60 percent of their offensive line in the offseason.

J.J. Watt and Aaron Donald were mid-round picks. It really doesn’t matter when the player is picked if they’re a cornerstone at their position. Once you’re outside of the top-10 (which is quarterback land) you just need to land a really good player.

We owe it to Leatherwood, and our anxiety as a fanbase, to give it time.

You May Also Like: Las Vegas Adds Pass-Rush Help, Draft Malcolm Koonce 79th Overall

*Top Photo: Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group

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T-diddy

This is the best article I’ve read on this site..you must be new here I believe this is also the first article of yours that I’ve read…I know its hard to trust the process and vision mayock and gruden have especially after 2 years of second half of the season collapses..and I realize they have made some mistakes with reaches and some free agent signings but the really big mistake was Paul guenther and his overly complex bullshit system..but I’m convinced we have fixed it..especially after this draft…I really think our defense is going to finally be competitive…I’m sick of… Read more »

Christopher

It never ceases to amaze me how people think that because they have watched the NFL or the Raiders for years that they have some kind of secret knowledge that nobody else has. Just because you watch games, and listen to sports talking heads, doesn’t mean you know dick about what the Raiders should do. Because if you did, you probably be getting paid for your opinion, not running your mouth on some internet sports blog. Mayock was the consensus draft guru for nearly 20 years, but now that he is the Raiders’ GM, everybody wants to question his every… Read more »

John James

Appreciate the wisdom. It’s in short supply. I tend to be optimistic but I still have confidence in Abrams, Arnette and Ferrell. Leatherwood was on more than a few 1st round boards and if he fits your scheme better than Darrisaw or Teven then you pull the trigger and get your guy. I have a lot more confidence in Gruden, Mayock and Cable than a bunch of haters that love jumping in with all the Raider bashing. Let’s Go Raiders!!! Winning solves everything!

John James

Totally Agree!! I love watching McShay and Kiper bash Mayock after getting schooled by him for 20 years. So transparent and childish. So many of Mayock’s picks are just now starting to get healthy and get some experience under their belt. Total confidence in the beast that they’re building after having to tear it all down. The contract structuring is also genius. GO RAIDERS!!!

Aaden Cooper

Great article! Thank you.

Lance Reynolds

I agree, 100%! Who the hell is Daniel Jeremiah anyway? And went do we all care what he thinks? Do a Google search on Darrisaw and another on Leatherwood. This wasn’t a miss on Mayock/Gruden part… DJeremiah CLEARLY missed. Leatherwood played as a starter and award winner in a National Championship team going up against the best of the best D Lines in college football. He had 2 sacks and 3 pressures ALL YEAR! Darrisaw played for VTech, missed a bunch of games and wasn’t nearly as effective. The Raiders scouts got this right. The talking heads got it wrong… Read more »

Eric G Geil

I notice that all the supposed fail or reach draft picks seem to be on the Defensive side. Maybe that has to do with Paul Gunther failing to coach them up and they will improve with Gus Bradley. Also, Arnette was suppose to a 2nd round pick because he was slow which has not proven to be the case. I think Ferrell and Arnette were being held back by the terrible coaching of Paul Gunther.

John Parsons

I think they filled the holes with a few more to close but they are looking up