Is Jermaine Eluemunor the answer at right tackle for the Las Vegas Raiders? The answer is yes, for right now. Eluemunor started at right tackle in the final preseason game against the New England Patriots, which shows the coaching staff could be leaning in that direction.
With Brandon Parker out due to injury and Alex Leatherwood struggling (and possibly on the way out), Eluemunor is the best option for the time being. The former Patriot is going into his sixth season in the NFL. He has started 14 games in his career, including eight in 2020 under Josh McDaniels.
Last year, he played in 14 games and made three starts for the Raiders. This preseason, Eluemunor has played right tackle and the guard position, displaying an ability to remain versatile. This is an important skill to have when playing for McDaniels, as shown by the fact that several of the linemen have played more than one position during the preseason and camp.
Jermaine Eluemunor is making the most of his opportunity with the Raiders
Eluemunor has taken advantage of a clean slate with a new general manager and head coach. There was an open competition for most of the offensive line positions during training camp. So, Eluemunor took it upon himself to make the most of this new opportunity in the offseason. He improved his eating habits and worked out, bettering his overall shape. As a result, he came into training camp in shape and ready to go. Eluemunor made note of how all of that helped his game during training camp when speaking to the media recently.
The offensive lineman did not take football seriously in the past, but he changed his train of thought this year. It will be beneficial to Eluemunor in the long run. When combined with the chance of being in the right place at the right time, hard work tends to pay off. The Raiders desperately need a right tackle right now, and Eluemunor finds himself as the best answer. Let’s face it, the Raiders’ brass isn’t impressed with what’s available in free agency, so there’s that as well.
Jermaine Eluemunor on fresh start:
“The last five years I wasn’t as serious as I should’ve been. Josh (McDaniels) knew who I was, to recreate the player and person I am.” pic.twitter.com/ts5uiRh1sa
— Raider Nation Radio (@RNR920AM) August 18, 2022
Eluemunor is still a better option that Brandon Parker
Even with Brandon Parker healthy, Eluemunor would still be the better option. Parker often struggles with bull rushers and has mental lapses, as seen against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Originally, Parker was slated to be the right tackle before a disastrous display in the Hall of Fame game. On top of that, Parker’s injury took him out of the remainder of preseason and training camp, putting his future in doubt.
Leatherwood has the skills to be a good tackler but struggles with his hands and lacks confidence. He tends to get down on himself when he has some bad reps, which affects him for the rest of the game. You have to be able to move on to the next play quickly.
The bottom line? Eluemunor is a veteran. He has renewed focus and is ready to contribute to the Raiders’ offensive line. The only way Eluemunor does not start is if the Raiders go out and sign a free agent tackle that’s better than him (doubtful) or Dave Ziegler acquires one via trade.
*Top Photo: AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth