Raiders RT Alex Leatherwood named biggest reach in Round 1

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Marcus Mosher
·2 min read
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By now, we shouldn’t be surprised that the Raiders and the rest of the world have a different way of viewing players. In 2018, they “reached” on Kolton Miller in the first round and that turned out great for the team. In 2019, they selected Clelin Ferrell at No. 4, but unfortunately, that pick is trending in the wrong direction.

Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden made another controversial pick this year, selecting Alabama offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood at No. 17. Most of the draft community had Leatherwood as a fringe first-rounder and many believe his best spot in the NFL may come in at guard.

In a recent piece by Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus, he explained why the pick of Leatherwood has been considered a “reach” by so many:

“Leatherwood ranked 45th on The Athletic’s Consensus Big Board, where he was listed as the second-ranked guard. PFF listed him as the 40th-best player in this draft overall and OT8. His biggest con in the PFF Draft Guide — adjusting in space — could ultimately lead to him being better suited inside.

Las Vegas addressing its offensive line after parting ways with Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson and Trent Brown this offseason isn’t a bad decision. Leatherwood, a prospect who could have slipped to the second round, just doesn’t profile as the best option to fill that need at this stage of the draft. The Raiders will look for Leatherwood’s length and strength to prove the doubters wrong.”

If you just ignore the pre-draft rankings, there is a lot to like about Leatherwood. He started 41 games at Alabama in the SEC, playing left tackle and right guard. He played at the Senior Bowl and showed well during the team drills and the game.

On top of the experience, he has incredibly long arms (34″) and tested like an elite athlete at his Pro Day, running a sub-5.00-second 40-yard dash at 312 pounds. Leatherwood could stand to improve his technique, but he has now paired with one of the league’s best offensive line coaches in Tom Cable.

While this might seem like a draft-day reach, don’t be surprised if Mayock and Gruden are right on this one. Leatherwood is a fine prospect with position flexibility and the college career many players dream of having.

Time will tell if the Raiders got this one right or wrong.

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