Henderson, Nev.--The Las Vegas Raiders entered tonight's 2021 NFL Draft needing offensive line help. They got it in their first pick, No. 17 overall, Alex Leatherwood from the University of Alabama.
The monster (6-6, 312-pound) star brings a huge frame to the Silver and Black, but also much more.
Leatherwood has a rare combination of size, speed and explosiveness in playing the offensive line. Leatherwood also brings position flexibility within the offensive line because of those traits.
Raider Maven was aware that General Manager Mike Mayock and Coach Jon Gruden liked Leatherwood. We projected the Raiders to pick him in our three-round mock draft on April 20. In that draft we had him projected as a third-round player.
According to the University of Alabama, Leatherwood "played in 48 career games with 41 consecutive starts dating back to 2018. He also averaged an overall blocking grade of 91.5 by the Alabama coaching staff and a 99.7 on assignments."
Leatherwood is an attacking player. Even in pass protection, his physicality shines through. An incredibly high-character person, he fits what the Las Vegas Raiders want to do.
Leatherwood is used to being coached hard by Nick Saban and will benefit from the tutelage of the Raiders legendary offensive line coach Tom Cable.
The Raiders have a strong legacy of success picking at No. 17. The Raiders have picked No. 17 in the NFL Draft three times previously and chose Hall of Fame guard Gene Upshaw in 1967, kicker Sebastian Janikowski in 2000 and defensive back Phillip Buchanon in 2002.
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