Chargers bafflingly sign failed Raiders draft bust Alex Leatherwood

Las Vegas Raiders v Miami Dolphins
Las Vegas Raiders v Miami Dolphins / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

For several years now the Las Vegas Raiders have made it a habit to bring in the LA Chargers' leftovers after the Bolts were done with them. It happened with draft busts like Jerry Tillery and even happened with the team's new GM, Tom Telesco.

Now the shoe is on the other foot.

It was reported on Wednesday that the Chargers signed former Raiders first-round pick Alex Leatherwood. Leatherwood was selected by the Raiders with the 17th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and was viewed as a massive reach at the time. Many projected Leatherwood to be a second-round pick in that year's draft.

Leatherwood certainly played like he was a draft reach in his lone season with the Raiders. The former Alabama offensive lineman could not handle being an NFL tackle, was moved to guard in his rookie season, and was eventually waived by the team entirely ahead of his second year. He has since bounced around practice squads and has not played an NFL snap since.

Chargers signing Alex Leatherwood is nothing short of puzzling

This signing is not one that has a lot of stakes. It is not like the Chargers are signing Leatherwood with the intention of making him a starter on the offensive line. This is very clearly a depth ploy where the team simply wants to get him in for training camp to see what he can offer.

There is a very slim chance that Leatherwood even makes the 53-man roster and if he does he is going to have to make monumental strides. If the same Leatherwood shows up in Los Angeles that has showed up everywhere else then there is no room for him even on the practice squad.

While it may be a low-stakes flier signing, it does still raise some questions. The Chargers could have found a flier that was better than Leatherwood, who is one of the worst first-round picks in the entire league in recent years? That is the guy who Jim Harbaugh and Joe Hortiz see something in?

It might not be an expensive or consequential signing but there are still limited roster spots to give out ahead of training camp. One of those roster spots is now being given to someone who was waived after his rookie season and has not played a snap of NFL football since. It is hard to believe that there were not better options out there, or that the Chargers couldn't have used this roster spot on a position with less depth.

The Leatherwood signing brings the Chargers' roster up to 88 players, leaving room for two more players to sign for training camp. Corey Linsley will also be released after June 1, giving the team another roster spot to utilize.

Hopefully, Harbaugh and the Chargers utilize it on someone who isn't a draft bust from a division rival.