After the Raiders waived 2021 first-round pick Alex Leatherwood, the Bears elected to take a flyer on the young offensive lineman by claiming him.
Chicago head coach Matt Eberflus said on Wednesday that bringing in Leatherwood amounts to a fresh start for him.
“We studied him on tape. We looked at him,” Eberflus said, via Josh Schrock of NBCSportsChicago.com. “Some guys have been with him, some guys that were in Vegas last year. We have a couple coaches on our staff. Of course, I know [former Raiders defensive line] coach [Rod] Marinelli, used him as a resource. We’ve got nothing but good reports, and we’re excited to have him. We’ll see where he goes from here.
“It’s a clean slate, it’s a fresh start from him and we’ll see where we start him at. We’re not going to disclose that right now. Still working with the coaches on that. But it’s a clean slate and a fresh start for him.”
Leatherwood started all 17 games for Las Vegas last season, first at right tackle and then at guard. But he could not secure a spot on this year’s offensive line with a new Raiders regime.
Eberflus said one aspect of Leatherwood’s game that stood out was his run blocking, saying it’s “really good.”
“He’s got good balance when it comes to that. He stays on guys. That’s what we like about him the most right now,” Eberflus said. “He’s got to develop his game. He’s a young player and we’ve got some really good coaches to help him. Chris Morgan is one of the best line coaches in the NFL. We’re excited to have those guys paired up together.”
By claiming Leatherwood off waivers, the Bears kept open the possibility of exercising his fifth-year option. If Leatherwood works out, it could turn out to be a high-reward transaction without taking on much risk.