Las Vegas addresses their offensive line with an Alabama star
The Raiders made yet another interesting first round selection, as they selected offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood from Alabama on Thursday night.
Leatherwood racked up a number of awards at Alabama, including the 2020 Outland Trophy which goes to the top interior lineman in college football. He also won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy in 2020 and was an All-American, along with a first-team All-SEC selection.
Leatherwood is definitely a solid addition, but yet again it appears that the Raiders reached to get their guy.
Scouting report (via The Draft Network)
Under the tutelage of former 1993 Heisman Trophy winner and Florida State quarterback Charlie Ward at Booker T. Washington High School (Florida), playing along both the offensive and defensive line, Leatherwood was known to dominate the competition no matter the arena. Committing to the Crimson Tide prior to his junior season, his allegiance never wavered and he was beyond excited to join “the factory” of talent that Nick Saban engineered. So much that he took extra credits during his final semester in order to become an early enrollee in Tuscaloosa (Jan. 2017).
Upon his arrival, he provided instant depth to one of the best units in the country. Playing in seven games at left tackle, he mainly served as depth behind Jonah Williams. Thrust into action in the 2018 National Championship game due to injury, he was the blind-side protector during the second half in helping the program secure a 26-23 overtime victory over Georgia. As a sophomore, he was moved inside to right guard. Starting all 15 games, Leatherwood was a part of an interior group that blocked for an offense that was ranked as the sixth-best in the nation. During his final two seasons, he served as the team’s left tackle. He has made 38 consecutive starts (and counting) in 45 career games played.
Leatherwood is a prospect that’s had experience at both guard and offensive tackle. Containing a towering and filled-out frame in many areas, he has adequate strength as a run blocker as he’s able to attach and drive defenders out of desired areas. His aggressiveness is a key ingredient to success in the run game, as he can completely overpower targets that he’s able to square up and land his body cleanly on. As a pass protector, Leatherwood has a clean pass set that’s able to gain ground up the field in order to stymie rushers that simply attack him vertically. His issues come against wise rushers that have the flexibility to alter and change their thought processes mid-rep.
Leatherwood has stiffness in his lower half that doesn’t allow him to match the quick movements from twitchy edge defenders, which forces him into performing panic techniques by lunging and placing all of his weight forward. While Leatherwood has a wealth of experience at offensive tackle, his better long-term outlook may be at guard because of the limitations in his lower body. Still, the team that drafts him should experiment with him at offensive tackle to test his development and consistency there, but his upside could be greater at guard where his room to operate is condensed—which can mask some of the deficiencies contained in his lower body.