Raiders Go BIG On Day 1
The Las Vegas Raiders were picking 17th in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft.
With a wide variety of needs to get the team out of the middle ground of the NFL, many had the Raiders addressing the defensive line, the defense in general or the offensive line. When the Raiders were on the clock, they attacked the O-Line.
The Raiders offensive line was already going to look drastically different this year as three starters from a year ago are already gone.
With that said the Raiders looked at the offensive trenches and selected 6-foot-6, 321-pound O-lineman Alex Leatherwood from Alabama. Mike Mayock has clearly preferred drafting players out of “blue blood” programs.
That premise isn’t necessarily a bad thing but like all drafts did they get it right?
Looking at most draft recaps along with those that are paid to analyze these kind of things, the most common phrasing in regards to this pick was: “this seemed like a reach.” I will stand by this statement until the end of time, it doesn’t matter if people think you reached for a pick. If you like a player, you take that player but you also have to deal with the ramifications of any pick.
The Raiders will have to shed that label of taking a player “too early.” The best way to do that is for Leatherwood to fit right in at either the guard or tackle position and become an anchor piece for years to come. He will also get measured against two other lineman that were predicted to go ahead of him.
What kind of career will Teven Jenkins have who is still on the draft board? What kind of career will Christian Darrishaw have who was picked six picks later by the Minnesota Vikings?
This is how the Raiders will ultimately be measured.
Did they reach? Will the two lineman that were on most mock drafts ahead of Leatherwood outperform him?
Like all drafts we have to wait and see but the Raiders certainly left the door open for criticism. I would much rather get an A grade on a draft that is recapped in three years then a A the day after.
This is a wait and see pick and the Raiders have a couple more days of picks to fill out some other holes on this roster.
Good luck to Leatherwood as his NFL journey is just beginning.