The Las Vegas Raiders desperately needed a starting right tackle, and in their eyes, Alex Leatherwood was the best one they could get. However, will they regret passing up the chance to take Christian Darrisaw in the 2021 NFL Draft?
Leatherwood’s selection will be scrutinized and overanalyzed in the coming years, much like his new teammate Kolton Miller was. Three years from now, the Raiders could have a Pro Bowler at right tackle for all we know. After all, he will be under the guidance of one of the best offensive line coaches, Tom Cable. Nevertheless, it appeared by all accounts that Darrisaw was the more polished and NFL-ready prospect that wasn’t named Penei Sewell. Will the Raiders’ brain trust regret not taking the Virginia Tech product?
Should the Raiders have taken Darrisaw?
Leatherwood’s strength coming into the NFL appears to be in run blocking. Last year, he posted an 85.4-grade last year, per Pro Football Focus. As far as a right tackle, he only played 12 snaps back in 2018. He proved his worth playing on the left side the last two seasons, but before that, he totaled 922 snaps at right guard.
Darrisaw played his entire collegiate career at left tackle, save for one 2019 snap at left guard. Clearly, he comes into the NFL with more natural experience as well as a more balanced repertoire. Per PFF, Darrisaw notched a 94.5 run-blocking grade along with 90.8 in the pass-blocking department. It would appear that the Raiders opted for versatility in choosing Leatherwood and this was the theme previously in the offseason.
The organization parted ways with Rodney Hudson and Gabe Jackson, opting to bring back swing offensive lineman Denzelle Good and adding, of course, drafting Leatherwood. If the Raiders end up having a dominant offensive line as they’ve fielded in recent years, all will be forgiven in terms of bypassing Darrisaw.
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