Top 10 offensive tackles Washington Football Team could add in 2021 NFL Draft

Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)
Virginia Tech OT Christian Darrisaw. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images) /
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Alabama OT Alex Leatherwood (via Montgomery)
Alabama OT Alex Leatherwood (via Montgomery) /

In any other draft class, Alex Leatherwood would probably be a shoo-in to be one of the top three tackles off the board. But in this strong class, he has flown a bit under the radar.

During his three-year run as a starter, Leatherwood saw action at right guard before spending the final two years at left tackle. He was arguably the best left tackle to play during the 2020 college football season. That’s why he was able to take home the Outland Trophy, awarded to the best blocker in the sport.

Leatherwood was a key cog in Alabama’s top-ranked offensive line and surrendered just two total sacks on the season along with just four total pressures. Those numbers demonstrate his strong abilities as a pass protector, and the tape matches it. Often, Leatherwood is able to get in front of the pass rushers he is blocking, and his athleticism and smooth footwork allow him to stay with him and give the quarterback time to complete his throws.

He may not always generate big-time push on these edge rushers, but he gets to them efficiently and at least stalemates them.

As a run blocker, the results are a bit more mixed. At times, Leatherwood looks powerful and shows an ability to create space by pushing defenders around, especially when coming downhill. Other times, he doesn’t come in with enough power or lacks the proper hand placement needed to make an impact. But the size (6-foot-5, 312 pounds) is there for him to continue to develop in that area.

In general, if Leatherwood can work on his hands and punch at the line of scrimmage — in both the run and pass games — he should turn into a rock-solid starting tackle at the next level. After all, he posted 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 was good for a 9.68 Relative Athletic Score, good for the seventh-best among tackles in this class.

Beyond that, Leatherwood has good length, so he should be able to leverage that against NFL-caliber athletes. He also could play guard if he needs to; he does have experience there.

There’s a lot to like about Leatherwood. From his experience to his athletic profile to his versatility, Washington could certainly find a way to use him. Would they be willing to take him at 19 or wait to see if he could slide all the way to 51? That remains unseen, but he surely is a guy that should be on the team’s radar.

Leatherwood should be a plug-and-play starter at some position up front. And more likely than not, it will be at left tackle.