All eyes have been on Las Vegas Raiders rookie offensive lineman, Alex Leatherwood. As part of a complete overhaul, the young tackle will be under plenty of criticism, but so far, he’s impressed.
To say Leatherwood will be under pressure this season would be putting it lightly. The rookie was the centerpiece in a rebuild of the o-line that received mixed reviews. However, the offensive line is younger and more athletic but more importantly, it’ll re-establish the run game. Moving away from Rodney Hudson and Gabe Jackson surely hurt but Jon Gruden wants to run it down opponents’ throats, Leatherwood will help with that.
Speaking to the press recently, Gruden via Vegas Nation, praised the rookie but also didn’t mince words. When speaking about his rookie tackle’s demeanor, Gruden emphatically stated that Leatherwood ‘is a veteran, a lot of guys got drafted ahead of him that didn’t even play this year. This guy played 15 games, won a National title.’ Gruden even went as far as to say that he’s one of the best prospects to come out of college recently. The coach cited the fact that he’s blocked for some of the best Alabama quarterbacks and running backs in recent memory.
Both a current and former teammate, running back Josh Jacobs also reflected on Leatherwood’s attitude. Jacobs elaborated on the tackle’s ‘old man demeanor,’ a true worker that ‘just goes about his business.‘ ’28’ also wasn’t shy about mentioning that he helped vouch for Leatherwood when he was called upon by Raiders brass.
‘He just wants to pound on people’
Tight end Darren Waller also heaped praise on Leatherwood recently. ‘Alex is a very focused, young player, probably one of the more focused rookies I’ve been around in my life. He’s locked in on his responsibilities… He just wants to pound on people, so that helps us out a lot as well.‘
While it’s still early in camp, the positivity surrounding Leatherwood has to account for something. The pick was scrutinized by both the media and fans almost immediately. However, Gruden appears to be excited with his rookie, and last time he chose an offensive lineman in the first round, it worked out nicely. So far, Leatherwood’s off to a great start with veterans such as Waller recognizing his potential.
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*Top Photo: Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun