Thursday Night, the Las Vegas Raiders selected OT Alex Leatherwood out of Alabama with the 17th Overall pick. With no question, the Raiders reached with this selection as they still had players like Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Caleb Farley, Christian Darrisaw, and Teven Jenkins were all on the board.
After the selection and the storm over social media, the Raiders held a press conference with General Manager Mike Mayock where he explained the selection by saying,
“He’s a powerful right tackle,” Mayock stated. “So, I think we’re going to run the football better. I think we’re going to get Josh Jacobs to the second level more cleanly than we did last year. Not just because of Alex, but because I think we’re getting younger, more athletic. I think we’re going to run the football and have some fun next year. I think people are going to like Leatherwood in the run game.”
He went on to say, “Tom Cable, our offensive line coach, this might have been Tom’s favorite player in this entire class,” Mayock said. “I mean, Coach Cable has been all over him for months now since the first time he saw the tape. Coach Gruden loved this guy. Our scouts loved this guy.”
The Raiders did their homework on the Tackle and believe he will make an impact and become a star player for the team.
In 2020, Leatherwood only allowed two sacks, three pressures, and only had two penalties. His Run blocking is phenomenal as he averaged 5.8 YPC as a lead blocker, and he had a 9.86 RAS (Relative Athletic Score) as he’s shown to be an amazing athlete and a hard worker on the field.
Leatherwood is reuniting with former teammates Henry Ruggs and Josh Jacobs, so the team chemistry is already there. With no doubt this pick was a reach, but looking at the stats, and how much strength Leatherwood has, the run blocking will be great when the time comes.
Raiders fans were disappointed and upset over the selection of Leatherwood. Fans from other teams also gave their input on the pick as well. Everyone feels as if this is the biggest surprise of this year’s draft.
Leatherwood said in response to all the hate, “I’m not the type of dude to get caught up in all that garbage, because I know what my film said about me and the GM and the coach, they know that as well,” he said. “I’m just grateful that they watched that film and they saw me as good enough to be the 17th overall pick.”
Leatherwood is more focused on proving the Raiders right than others wrong as Leatherwood will step in immediately as the starting right tackle in place of Trent Brown, who was traded to New England this offseason for a 2022 draft pick. Leatherwood has shown that he’s ready to gear up in the silver and black, but that leaves us all wondering, will Alex Leatherwood live up to the 17th overall pick?