Raiders must consider drafting Alex Leatherwood with 17th overall pick

The Las Vegas Raiders enter this year’s offseason with plenty of roster needs. If they move on from right tackle Trent Brown, they’ll have another one. However, drafting Alex Leatherwood could quickly address that need.

Alex Leatherwood is one of the best tackle prospects in 2021’s draft

Leatherwood may not be the flashiest prospect in this year’s offensive tackle class. However, he makes up for it by being one of the most consistent ones. The Florida native became the eighth Alabama player in school history to earn the 2020 Outland Trophy winner and should be available when the Raiders are on the clock with the 17th overall pick.

The 2020 Unanimous All-American still needs to work on his body control and would need to make the transition to the right side of the offensive line. However, he’s previously played guard and should have no problem changing positions. He displayed growth as a senior and should get even better in the NFL.

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The Raiders may need a right tackle this offseason

There’s no doubt Brown is one of the best right tackles when he’s healthy. However, that hasn’t been the case in the last two years and injuries limited him to five games in 2020. Releasing ’77’ would open $14 million in cap space, an amount the Raiders could use to get out of the $7 million deficit they currently have. The team would then need a replacement and Leatherwood could be one of the best ones available.

At one point in 2020, Brown was on the COVID-19/reserve list. Later in the year, air entered his bloodstream during a pregame IV in the team’s locker room, which led to his hospitalization, so his absence on the field goes beyond injuries. Regardless of the reason, things haven’t worked out for Las Vegas and the right tackle, so it may be time for both parties to part ways.

Had Brown been healthier, keeping him would be an easy decision. However, that hasn’t been the case and the team could benefit from cutting ties with him. If that ends up happening, using the 17th overall pick on Leatherwood makes plenty of sense.

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