The Las Vegas Raiders raised some eyebrows when they selected Alex Leatherwood in the first round, but he has come in with the right mentality.
The NFL’s best players have some of the most unique personalities in all sports, and the Las Vegas Raiders are no different. Take, for example, Los Angeles Rams’ two-time All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey worked to become, arguably, the best player at the cornerback position, so he has a right to say some of the things he does.
But, on the contrary, take Las Vegas Raiders third-year safety Johnathan Abram. Being drafted the same year your team is placed on HBO’s Hard Knocks isn’t ideal for most organization’s rookie players.
His demeanor has not translated to individual success, even though he became somewhat of a household name before taking a meaningful rep on the Raiders in 2019. Instead, it shows that there’s a body of work for a rookie that should take place before they should speak, similar to current and former NFL greats.
Thankfully for Las Vegas this season, their 2021 first-round pick is already approaching training camp in the exact opposite direction that Abram took.
The Las Vegas Raiders, yet again, shocked many media members and pundits alike this past April by selecting former Alabama Crimson Tide OT Alex Leatherwood with the 17th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, but he was an integral part of the Tide’s success in the past four collegiate seasons.
Reluctantly, his illustrious collegiate career started in the 2017 College Football National Championship Game against the Georgia Bulldogs in the 3rd quarter. He came off the bench to fill in for injured starting left tackle Jonah Williams and took place in one of the best sporting comebacks of all time.
The Pensacola, Florida native, played at both guard and tackle in Nick Saban’s pro-style offense from that point forward. He earned numerous accolades as he helped Bama become national champions once again in 2020:
- 2x first-team All-SEC (2019, 2020)
- Second-team All-SEC (2018)
- Outland Trophy winner (2020)
- Co-winner (teammate Landon Dickerson) of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy (2020)
For the Silver and Black, it is apparent why they chose him based on his football achievements, and so far, the investment in his actions is translating well as training camp begins.
Leatherwood’s new Raiders teammates and coaches already noticing him in a good way
For new Las Vegas Raider Alex Leatherwood, it is apparent that playing in Nick Saban’s pro-style offense is helping him adjust to Jon Gruden’s expansive playbook early on in training camp. Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson told NFL reporter Omar Ruiz that he is adjusting to the system nearly flawless.
In addition to his offensive coordinator noticing his aptitude for the game, his teammates are as well.
The Las Vegas Raiders added talent to the defensive side of the ball, but was it enough for first-year defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
While the Silver and Black’s pads don’t don until Tuesday, Leatherwood is self-admittedly prepared to handle business. His approach to training camp so far is more than what Las Vegas can ask for. But, ultimately, it will pay dividends when everyone eventually reflects on his humble arrival to the NFL.