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2021 NFL Draft: Alabama Crimson Tide’s Alex Leatherwood Selected 17th Overall by the Las Vegas Raiders

The multi-year starter for Alabama will now move to the west coast to block for Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Ohio State vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Once a 5-star freshman getting thrown into a national championship game unexpectedly, Leatherwood has since been a steady presence for Alabama at both guard and left tackle the last three seasons on his way to winning the Outland Trophy for the best lineman in the country his senior season.

Many draft thinkers thought that he’d wind up dropping into the second round due to not looking like a true left tackle... or something...

So when the Raiders picked him up at 17th, the entire draft production just went silent for a for a few seconds in surprise.

Alex is an outstanding run blocker, combining outstanding technique with plus power. He has prototypical size for tackle at 6’6”, 312 lbs. but some see him as more of a guard prospect. He acquitted himself well in both positions at Alabama. He has nearly ideal arm length at 33 7/8”, just short of the coveted gold standard of 34” but well beyond the 33” baseline for an offensive tackle.

Alex also served as a vocal leader off the field, particularly last summer when the team decided to join many in marching for racial justice. He is intelligent, speaks thoughtfully, and will be a top notch locker room asset for whichever team is fortunate enough to select him.

The Raiders just finished up trading off multiple highly-priced veteran offensive linemen, so a youth infusion there was a very logical choice. Leatherwood will be blocking for former Tide running backs Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake as well as protecting his QB long enough to get passes off to Henry Ruggs III.

Roll Vegas Roll.