The Las Vegas Raiders’ 2021 first-round selection, Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood, trusted the process and now finds himself in ‘Sin City.’
The decision to draft Leatherwood received almost immediate backlash and criticism from fans to so-called experts. Leatherwood was seen by some as a second-round talent that was ‘overreached for’ at number 17. However, the Raiders knew what they wanted and held Leatherwood in high regard, according to Mike Mayock, he was their top tackle prospect. Leatherwood’s versatility surely played a part in the Silver and Black’s decision. He could end up either as a right tackle or could move inside as a guard. Either way, he fits the mold of what the Raiders are doing. The team decided that their offensive line had to become more athletic and versatile. Moving on from Rodney Hudson and Gabe Jackson certainly set the tone for this earlier in the offseason.
“Start building a bond, so we can go out and kick peoples’ ass”
With Leatherwood now in place as a Raider, he recently spoke with Lincoln Kennedy, recapping his draft day experience and a few other things moving forward.
The Raiders landed a true leader in Leatherwood
Kennedy emphasized Leatherwood’s leadership which he himself was familiar with after speaking with folks at Alabama. Offensive linemen are often the most important leaders on an NFL team so it bodes well to know that the Raiders are getting one in the former Alabama tackle. Leatherwood recalled that while he isn’t one for attention, he embraced that leadership role in his senior year in college. Losing Hudson and Jackson certainly hurt but the team might’ve landed a future stalwart that’ll hold it down for years to come.
Kennedy pointed out many were unsure of the pick so Leatherwood spoke directly to Raider Nation. Kennedy pointed out that many media pundits ostracized the pick, possibly leading to fans’ skepticism. Leatherwood certainly is saying the right things as he truly believes in his own work ethic. Or as he said, he’ll ‘work his ass off to any means necessary for this team.’ Whether you like this pick or thought it was a reach, it’s irrelevant. The Raiders filled a huge need and now it’s up to the coaching staff to make sure Leatherwood can live up to the billing of a first-round choice.
“You will not be disappointed, I promise you that.”
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*Top Photo: Daniel Dunn/Getty Images