NFL Draft Prospect Spotlight: Alex Leatherwood

Alabama's Alex Leatherwood continues the line of touted linemen to come from the Crimson Tide to the NFL Draft and the Las Vegas Raiders are watching
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With free agency now starting up, the Las Vegas Raiders figure to be active in trying to find new starters on their offensive line.

That applies to the 2021 NFL Draft as well, as we’ve gone over a number of offensive linemen the Raiders could target.

That’ll continue today with looking at Alabama offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood.

Initially starting at right guard for the Crimson Tide in 2018, Leatherwood transitioned back to his natural position of left tackle the last two seasons.

Leatherwood was able to finish off his college career on a high note, starting for an Alabama offense that tore apart college football and won a national championship.

He also earned back-to-back First-Team All-SEC honors in 2019 and 2020.

As a prospect, Leatherwood brings physical qualities that fans and scouts alike have come to expect from an offensive lineman from Alabama.

He brings prototypical size and length at 6-6 and 312 pounds, and has the strength to lock out defensive linemen once he gets his hands on them.

That power leads to a lot of big-time blocks in the running game, where Leatherwood was rated highly last season with a grade of 85.4 by Pro Football Focus.

Scouts note that his form in pass protection is solid, but that’s also an area that shows some of Leatherwood’s deficiencies.

He’s regarded as being an incredibly athletic tackle, and that shows when he has to face speed rushers.

That showed up in the Senior Bowl, where Leatherwood only won 50 percent of his one-on-one matchups.

He also had issues missing blocks because of a tendency to lurch into contact rather than drive his feet.

It’s these concerns that have caused Leatherwood to be projected outside the first round.

His length and strength will still make teams interested, as offensive linemen from Alabama coached by Nick Saban tend to be serviceable, at least.

Leatherwood has the chance to be better than that, and for a team like the Raiders that has a hole at right tackle, they might go with him.

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