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#pounditSunday, November 27, 2022

Bears claim 2021 first-round pick off waivers

Alex Leatherwood on the bench

Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Las Vegas Raiders tackle Alex Leatherwood sits on the bench during the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders made the surprising decision on Tuesday to move on from a player they drafted in the first round a year ago, but that player has already found a new home.

Alex Leatherwood was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Bears on Wednesday, according to ESPN.

The Raiders selected Leatherwood with the No. 17 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He was considered one of the better offensive linemen in the country and started 17 games at right guard for Alabama. The new regime in Las Vegas, led by Josh McDaniels, tried to move Leatherwood to right tackle, but he was beat out for the job. That left the Raiders looking to trade the former Outland Trophy winner. They could not find a suitor, so they cut him when trimming their roster down to 53 players.

The Leatherwood pick was criticized by many at the time the Raiders chose him. Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock were still running the team then.

Obviously, the Bears think Leatherwood has plenty left to offer. His $14.4 million contract is fully guaranteed, and Chicago has now taken that on. While the Raiders would have preferred to trade Leatherwood, they will benefit financially from him having been claimed by another team. That should help lessen the blow of what wound up being a wasted first-round pick.

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