Why the Washington Football Team should draft Alex Leatherwood

Alabama OT Alex Leatherwood. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Alabama OT Alex Leatherwood. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

This piece is part of the Riggo’s Rag Roundtable debate about the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. For more Washington Football Team Round 1 options, click here.

Last season, the Washington Football Team’s offensive line came together really well. The Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses triumvirate performed really well on the right side of the line, and Washington eventually figured things out on the left side.

After Geron Christian and Wes Martin began the season as the starters at left tackle and guard respectively, they were eventually replaced by Cornelius Lucas and Wes Schweitzer. Both Lucas and Schweitzer played very well as starters and will likely continue in their roles in 2021.

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That said, the Washington Football Team could use some extra offensive line depth and they need a future starter at tackle, too. Both Moses (30) and Lucas (30 in July) will see their contracts expire after this season and unless the team is confident in Saahdiq Charles stepping up after a largely lost rookie season, they should add a player at the position.

Luckily for Washington, the 2021 NFL Draft is deep at the tackle spot and they could land a quality player with the No. 19 pick. That said, if they want a versatile, experienced offensive lineman that could step into a starting role right away for the team, Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood could be their man.

Why the Washington Football Team should draft Alex Leatherwood

Leatherwood may not be getting as much attention as the other top tackles in this year’s class, but he still should be a first-round pick. Guys like Penei Sewell, Rashawn Slater, Christian Darrisaw, and Alijah Vera-Tucker will probably go ahead of him, but if there’s a run on tackles early, Washington could look into selecting Leatherwood.

Leatherwood certainly wouldn’t be a reach at 19. In fact, it seems likely that Washington, Chicago, or Indianapolis would select him in the 19-21 pick range if the other top tackles are off the board. All three teams have a need at the tackle spot and Leatherwood would have a chance to fill any position they need from left tackle to right tackle to guard.

So, what’s to like about Leatherwood? Well, he’s a great athlete. He clocked a 4.96 time in the 40-yard dash, logged nearly a 10-foot broad jump, and posted a surprising 34.5-inch vertical jump. That should help him in his case to play left tackle at the next level.

Additionally, Leatherwood has good size. He’s not massive, but at 6-5, 312 pounds, he has more than enough size to remain on the outside and could add some muscle to his frame at the next level.

Leatherwood has strength, he’s limber and athletic, but above all else, he has a ton of experience. At Alabama, Leatherwood was a three-year starter. He played at right guard during his sophomore year but spent the last two years at left tackle. He was one of college football’s best, as he was a road-grader in the run game and did well to limit pressure blocking for Mac Jones.

There’s a lot to like about Leatherwood. He’s a high-floor player, which is always nice to land in the first round, but his ceiling is high as well. If he can live up to his athletic potential, he could easily become a top starter at left tackle. If he was paired with a very good offensive line coach like John Matsko, he could have a chance to unlock that.

There are other names that may be more appealing than Leatherwood, and if one of the big-four offensive tackles makes it to 19, Washington should probably take one of them.

But don’t sleep on Alex Leatherwood. He could be a long-term starter at left tackle and could win a starting job on the left side of the line this offseason. And even if he spends his first season as a backup supersub, that would fill a huge need and provide Washington with a big upgrade.

And further in the future, the 22-year-old could be one of the better tackles in the NFL.

More first round options for the WFT. dark. Next

Click the links below to read about each Washington Football Team Round 1 option.

Roundtable: Who should the Washington Football Team select in Round 1?