Alex Leatherwood coming off the board at 17, and ahead of Christian Darrisaw, may raise some eyebrows. That said, Leatherwood fits more of the mold that Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden tend to like at the tackle spot compared to Darrisaw.
While Darrisaw is athletic and smooth but lacks finishing skills at times, Leatherwood is much more of a physical player. He’s a bit bigger than Darrisaw, and has the frame to be thicker, so that could entice Mayock and Gruden to target him to be a top-notch right tackle.
I had Leatherwood highly rated among my offensive tackles that the Washington Football Team could consider drafting. Here’s what I said about Leatherwood in that piece.
"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."
Leatherwood isn’t better than Darrisaw, but again, this is about fit. Mayock has shown a tendency to target players from teams that made the College Football Playoff and isn’t afraid about a player being labeled a risk. Leatherwood has four years of college experience, has played multiple positions, and would probably be a top-three tackle in a weaker class.
He may not be better than Darrisaw, but if the Raiders are looking for a right tackle, Leatherwood seems to fit their mold better than the Virginia Tech product does.