Rookie struggles and inexperience haunted the Las Vegas Raiders’ offensive line this past season, which showed the football world one of the team’s weak points.
The Las Vegas Raiders’ offensive line remains intact
The Raiders had a productive offseason full of new additions and changes on both sides of the football, but a position that saw little change is the offensive line. Out of the seventeen free agents signed this offseason, Alex Bars is the only lineman signed by the team, which essentially means the Raiders will stick with the 2021 offensive line that ranked 28th in the league and an offensive line core that seemed to have many holes.
Will Thayer Munford and Dylan Parham make contributions in 2022?
The Raiders did, however, add talent to the line through the draft, which saw the Raiders draft Dylan Parham and Thayer Munford in the third and fifth rounds. The two additions produced well in their final seasons of college ball, with Parham earning a 78.8 Pro Football Focus grade for the 2021 season and Munford getting a 73.7 PFF grade. The two rookies will provide depth at the position and may see competition for a starting role with Denzelle Good coming back from an injury and John Simpson coming off a subpar season.
A huge question mark for the offensive line is Alex Leatherwood. He had an up and down season which saw the big man moving around at different positions. Leatherwood had a lot of struggles throughout the season as he was getting beat on the outside and inside in countless games. That led to a lot of criticism and speculation that the Raiders may have reached in the 2021 draft. Leatherwood may not have had the season many people expected him to have, picking up 14 penalties and allowing eight sacks, but his size and youth add to his potential heading into the new season under a completely new coaching staff.
Which lineup should the Raiders trot out?
With some newly added depth at tackle and guard, there are many potential lineups. However, there’s uncertainty about which position Leatherwood will play at the start of training camp. There is not a clear lineup potential as many other players may shift along the line. The Raiders saw a lot of potential in Jermaine Eluemunor, who stepped in when Good went down. Unfortunately, fans did not see great success in Brandon Parker. He could fall down the depth chart with Munford joining the team. The team also got a glimpse of Lester Cotton. Even though he wasn’t up to snub, with injuries and movement in the line, Cotton was thrown into the mix as a rookie last season.
With training camp approaching, the Raiders appear content with the players they have on the roster. Essentially, they are looking to build around the pieces brought in by Gruden and Mayock. A training camp lineup that would be an interesting lineup could be the following:
- Kolton Miller, LT
- John Simpson, LG
- Andre James, OC
- Dylan Parham, RG
- Alex Leatherwood, RT
There can be a lot of mixed emotions with this unit as it is young and developing. At the same time, the youth and competition surrounding the O-line can build the potential for a strong and intimidating front five.
*Top Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports