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Bears Reportedly Claim Former 2021 First-Round Pick

A view of a Chicago Bears helmet resting on a cooler during a preseason game between the Chicago Bears and the Buffalo Bills in 2021.

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 21: A detail view of a Chicago Bears helmet is seen resting on a cooler during a preseason game between the Chicago Bears and the Buffalo Bills on August 21, 2021 at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Chicago Bears have reportedly claimed former first-round pick Alex Leatherwood off waivers, per NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport.

The Raiders, who selected Leatherwood with the 17th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, released the former Alabama star before Tuesday's final 53-man roster deadline.

The Raiders were crushed for their decision to select Leatherwood so early in last year's draft. And as it turns out, that criticism was fully warranted.

Despite starting all 17 regular-season games for Las Vegas in 2021, Leatherwood finished his rookie year as one of the worst-rated offensive linemen in the league. He was called for 14 penalties (3rd most in the league), gave up eight sacks (2nd most in the league) and allowed a league-leading 65 total pressures.

His struggles seemed to be bleeding into the 2022 season, allowing five pressures during the Raiders' third preseason game against the Miami Dolphins.

Leatherwood started his rookie season at the right tackle position, but was moved to right guard just five games into the year. It's unclear where he will fit into the Bears' offensive line.

Chicago QB Justin Fields was sacked 36 times during his rookie season. The Bears hope Leatherwood can reach his potential and help protect his fellow first-round draft mate in Year 2.