Anonymous scouts discuss Raiders OT Alex Leatherwood before 2021 NFL draft

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Levi Damien
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Each year for the past 37 years Bob McGinn has collected quotes from scouts about all the players in the draft and asked them to rank them as they see them. It makes for some interesting reading after these players are drafted.

One of the questions McGinn asked scouts was which offensive linemen in the class were the most overrated. He asked 17 different scouts that question. The leaders were Oregon OT Penei Sewell (the consensus top tackle in this draft taken at 8th overall by the Lions) and Texas OT Sam Cosmi (taken 51st overall by Washington). Each had four votes.

Two others received two votes. They were Michigan’s Jaylen Mayfield (taken in the third round at 68 overall by the Falcons) and Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood (taken at 17 overall by the Raiders).

You can take that for what it’s worth. Sewell, for instance, may just have been considered overrated because he was the unquestioned top OT in this class through the entire process and seen as a top-three talent in this class at any position. He was still rated as the top OL in the class regardless.

With a first-place vote worth six points, a second worth five and so on, the point totals were Sewell (93), Slater (84), Vera-Tucker (52), Christian Darrisaw (50), Teven Jenkins (17), Dickerson (13), Jackson Carman (eight), Liam Eichenberg (six), Cosmi (six), Leatherwood (five), Little (five), Banks (four), Mayfield (four), Dillon Radunz (four), Dan Moore (two), Trey Smith (two), Wyatt Davis (one) and Drew Dalman (one).

Based on these votes, Leatherwood was viewed as the 10th offensive lineman in this class and the 7th best tackle. And yet he was the fourth OL and third OT taken behind Sewell, OT Rashawn Slater, and G Alijah Vera-Tucker, with the more highly regarded Darrisaw and Jenkins still on the board.

This bears out why these scouts viewed Leatherwood as being overrated. So too does some of what they had to say about him.

“He’ll play,” one scout said. “You love his length (34-inch arms) … but he doesn’t play that strong and doesn’t have a lot of grit to him. He just kind of does everything OK, OK, OK, nothing elite. Someone may fall in love with him just because it’s an Alabama offensive lineman. Every year they don’t do anything, but every year we keep taking ’em. He falls in line with a lot of those ’Bama guys of the past.”

Another scout’s analysis matches up with the pre-draft feeling that Leatherwood may be best suited to play guard, but seems to have a similar feeling to that of the Raiders.

“I think he’s got to be a right tackle or a guard,” said another scout. “Big, powerful man. Moved well for a big guy. He worked out better than I thought. There’s some similarities between him and Andrus Peat, thick-boned guys who could play tackle but are really good guards.”

It’s important to reiterate that these are what scouts were saying about these players before they were drafted. So, it was regardless of where in the draft the player was selected and/or which team selected them. That’s what makes these quotes most interesting. Now we wait to see how accurate they end up being.

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