Mike Mayock, the Raiders and new rookie offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood are already facing doubters.
Las Vegas selected the big Alabama lineman on Thursday with the No. 17 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Many questioned why the Raiders selected Leatherwood when most draft boards had him as a Day 2 selection and other prospects like Oklahoma State’s Teven Jenkins and Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw, who went No. 23 to the Minnesota Vikings, were still available.
Here’s what pundits had to say about the Raiders’ selection of Leatherwood, who fills a position of need but has question marks:
Why: “Mayock didn’t want to wait and see if Leatherwood would still be around when they picked at No. 48 overall on Friday in the second round. It’s hard to hit a home run with the No. 17 overall pick, and Leatherwood could be the answer the Raiders are looking for, but he will have to prove a lot of doubters wrong in the process.”
Why: “To be fair, Leatherwood is the reigning Outland Trophy winner and has guard and tackle versatility. But Las Vegas painted itself into a corner by deconstructing its offensive line this offseason. It then forced a pick based on need and what appears to be outdated values.”
Why: “I don't love this pick. They need line help, but he's more of a second-round pick in my mind.”
Why: “The Raiders are becoming one of the league's annual mock-busters, and their selection of Leatherwood is likely to be panned by many as a reach. GM Mike Mayock has shown a strong preference for players from blue-blood programs, and Leatherwood's track record at Alabama certainly qualifies.”
Why: “For GM Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden, this pick is another in a long line of perceived reaches. They better hope the former Crimson Tide lineman outplays expectations.”
Why: “Leatherwood has experience at both guard and tackle against top competition, but there were better offensive line prospects still on the board here.”
Why: “He’s easily the biggest reach of the first round so far with some concern about consistency in the NFL.”