The Las Vegas Raiders made a tough decision when they decided to part ways with last year’s first-round pick, Alex Leatherwood. Be that as it may, the move shows that the coaching staff is confident in what they currently have in-house. Leatherwood’s departure looks to be paving the way for rookie Thayer Munford to see action in 2022.
By all accounts, Leatherwood got every chance to compete. Despite an offseason that started with much optimism, Leatherwood floundered during the preseason. It appeared he had regressed at the tackle position, which was interesting when you considered the consensus that the Raiders should’ve developed him as a guard. Nevertheless, what’s done is done. Munford can now pick up the ball and make the most of his opportunity. The seventh-round draft choice came into camp with the expectation that he’d take time to develop. It was presumed that the right tackle slot was going to be manned by Leatherwood. However, that didn’t pan out, and now Munford could be in line for some serious minutes this season.
Is Thayer Munford an improvement over Alex Leatherwood?
Sometimes you have to call a spade, well, a spade. Neither Leather nor Brandon Parker inspired much confidence out of the gate. Parker’s disastrous outing during the Hall of Fame game put his status in serious doubt. Once his injury took place, it was clear that Leatherwood would be next in line. He too struggled, and so Munford began to show signs he was the heir apparent. In fact, the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Vincent Bonsignore stated that the organization has high hopes for Munford. Specifically, once he’s fully healthy after his injury, he’d be in the running for starter-level snaps.
Earlier in the offseason during camp, head coach Josh McDaniels pointed out Munford’s progress, and while admitting there was work to be done, progress was being made.
Munford is quickly adapting to pass-blocking at the NFL level. During the preseason, he showed great strides, as highlighted by a Pro Football Focus grade of 72.3 in that department. But it should be pointed out that it was during the preseason. If Munford is to eventually take the starting job, he needs to work on his movement as well as his run-blocking before he gets handed the keys.
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