How bad was the Jon Gruden era? The Raiders cut his last 3 first-round picks
The Las Vegas Raiders also declined to pick-up the fifth-year options for Gruden’s first-round picks from 2019
Jon Gruden’s time as a head coach may be over, but NFL fans aren’t done mocking his decision-making skills.
On Tuesday, the former Las Vegas Raiders head coach became one of the biggest losers of roster cutdowns when his old team parted ways with his last first-round pick.
“The Las Vegas Raiders waived Alex Leatherwood, the No. 17 overall pick of the 2021 NFL draft, on Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, cementing (Leatherwood’s) unfortunate status as one of the biggest busts in recent NFL draft history,” Yahoo! Sports reported.
Tuesday’s cut was the latest in a string of embarrassing roster moves by the Raiders. All told, they’ve parted ways with their last three first-round picks and chosen not to pick up the fifth-year options for the three first-round picks before that.
As one Raiders fan put it on Twitter, Gruden and former Raiders general manager “Mike Mayock are crossed off the Raiders Christmas card list.”
Raiders first-round picks from 2019-2021:— Field Yates (@FieldYates) August 30, 2022
DE Clelin Ferrell, RB Josh Jacobs and S Jonathan Abram: 5th-year options declined
WR Henry Ruggs III & CB Damon Arnette: both waived following off-field incidents
Alex Leatherwood: Waived after one season
Which Raiders’ first-round picks are no longer with the team?
Leatherwood was the Raider’s first-round pick in 2021. Many NFL draft experts predicted at the time that the team was in for a bumpy ride.
“The Raiders drafted Leatherwood out of Alabama thinking they were getting their right tackle of the future. That was to the surprise of most NFL draft media, who almost universally didn’t see Leatherwood as a first-rounder,” Yahoo! Sports reported.
In his rookie year, Pro Football Focus ranked Leatherwood “No. 80 out of 82 guards in the NFL,” the article noted.
Unlike Leatherwood, the other two recent first-round picks who are no longer with the Raiders were released because of off-field incidents. Wide receiver Henry Ruggs was involved in a fatal car accident and cornerback Damon Arnette was seen on video threatening to kill someone.
Where is Jon Gruden now?
Like Ruggs and Arnette, Gruden left the Raiders due to off-field concerns. He resigned as Raiders head coach in October 2021 after The New York Times reported on “emails in which he had made homophobic and misogynistic remarks.”
“I never meant to hurt anyone,” he said in a statement at the time.
On Tuesday, Gruden joined the Little Rock Touchdown Club, a social organization in Little Rock, Arkansas, to discuss the scandal and his career more generally.
The former head coach said he was “ashamed” about what he said in the emails, but still feels he’s a “good person,” according to a video of the event shared on Twitter.
“I go to church. I’ve been married for 31 years. I got three great boys. I still love football. I’ve made some mistakes, but I don’t think anybody in here hasn’t, and I just ask for forgiveness, and, hopefully, I get another shot,” he said.
Gruden’s agent recently said the coach deserves another job in the NFL, according to Sports Illustrated.