2021 NFL Draft: Did the Las Vegas Raiders get it right at No. 17?
The Las Vegas Raiders continued their mission to remake the offensive line with Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood selection, but was it the right pick?
With the 17th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders have selected offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood from the Alabama Crimson Tide.
After an offseason that featured a retooling of the offensive line, the Raiders continue that process by getting Leatherwood. He will most likely be the new starting right tackle, but there’s been thought of him moving to guard by draft analysts, as he does have the versatility to play inside and out.
So the question is, did the Raiders get the pick right?
The reality is it’s impossible to say with complete conviction whether they got it wrong or right because we have to see him play. However, the selection of Leatherwood is not something that any fan or analysts saw coming.
The Raiders have become synonymous with going against conventional wisdom with their first-round picks. Starting with their selection of Kolton Miller in 2018, Clelin Ferrell in 2019, and Damon Arnette in 2020, it seems like the Raiders throw a head-scratcher into the mix in the first round every year.
Leatherwood is by no means a bad player, and it was fantastic to see how excited he was to get drafted, but it is hard to justify him going this early.
The Athletic’s consensus board ranked Leatherwood as the 45th player in the draft, so he was a clear second-round player. Leatherwood has tremendous length, explosiveness, but he struggles to protect the corner against pass rushers.
He will dominate in a phone booth, but there is stiffness with him that may hurt him as a tackle. If he moves to guard, I think he could be a tremendous player, but I doubt the Raiders have that as an option right now.
If they do move him inside, then taking a guard at pick #17 with all the other issues that the Raiders have would be hard to justify. Overall, there were better tackles on the board like Teven Jenkins and Christian Darrisaw, but Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock got their guy.
Looking at the process overall, and the value still on the board at offensive tackle and on defense, I don’t believe the Raiders got the pick right.
Las Vegas Raiders quick reaction NFL Grades 2021: Alex Leatherwood
The Las Vegas Raiders solidified their offensive line by selecting Alex Leatherwood from Alabama 17th overall. Here is our quick draft grade.
We spoke about how the Raiders could not afford to reach at No. 17 earlier this week and sit stands right now, it looks like that is certainly the case with Leatherwood. However, I think I speak for a chunk of fans in saying I’ll gladly be wrong.