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Raiders Training Camp Preview: Offensive Tackles – Sports Illustrated

The Las Vegas Raiders are a few days away from starting training camp and many still believe the offensive line is the area of concern.
Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler took the offseason to improve major areas on the roster.
One of the areas he did not target as much this offseason was the offensive line, leaving many to believe it’s still the biggest concern on the offensive unit.
As for Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels and offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo, they’re the reason why Raider Nation should feel very optimistic about this upcoming season.
Last season, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was sacked 40 times, 12th most-allowed sacks in the NFL last season.
While the New England Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones was sacked 28 times, ranking 29th in the league in most sacks allowed.
The Returning Starters
Left tackle Kolton Miller has come up to become one of the best offensive tackles in the league.
He’s coming off the best season of his career where he played every possible down on offense and recorded an 85 overall PFF grade, which ranked him the fifth-best tackle in the NFL last season.
Miller struggled his rookie season, but over the years, he has developed into a reliable tackle for Carr.
The same will be expected for second-year player Alex Leatherwood, who struggled tremendously last season.
“Leatherwood allowed the most pressures of any offensive lineman in the NFL as a rookie (65) and had a 29.0 PFF pass-blocking grade. He recorded four separate games with a sub-20.0 pass-blocking grade, and even if he was seen as a reach at pick No. 17, he is now under huge pressure to show he can be a viable starting offensive lineman for a team that wants to contend in 2022,” said Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson.
As of mini camp, Leatherwood has been given an opportunity to redeem himself back at right tackle.
He will be competing against the player who replaced him a year ago, Brandon Parker, who settled down and played well towards the end of the season.
Jackson Barton spent most of the year on the practice squad. This offseason will show if he has taken the next step forward and earned a spot on the roster of the practice squad.
The “Veteran” Acquisition
Tyrone Wheatley Jr. was the lone offensive tackle signee this offseason.
He spent his rookie season on the Chicago Bears practice squad and is expected to do the same for the Raiders.
Wheatley Jr., who played tight end in college is transitioning to an offensive tackle in the NFL.
His father, Tyrone Wheatley Sr., was a leading tailback for the Raiders for six seasons and now his son will have the opportunity to play on the team his father played for.
The “Rookies”
Two rookie offensive tackles will start training camp this Monday.
Thayer Munford Jr. and Bamidele Olaseni are the added reinforcements.
Munford Jr. was added in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-6, 320-pounder lineman played some big games in college, and won multiple Big 10 titles as an Ohio State Buckeye, with an appearance in the 2021 CFB National Championship Game.
Olaseni, a undrafted free agent (UDFA) turned out to be a promising left tackle at Utah. The 26-year-old from London, England, started 11 games at left tackle last season for the Pac-12 champions and was named All-Pac-12 Second Team.
The Verdict
The Raiders may have not signed a big-name free agent this offseason to fill the right tackle position, but they did add a trio of young tackles that look to compete for a spot on the active roster.
The returning players will have to take the next step forward, because one of these young tackes can ultimately steal the show.
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