Raiders

Raiders knew Leatherwood draft pick would be criticized

Raiders

The Raiders universally were panned for the selection of Alex Leatherwood with the 17th overall draft pick, but general manager Mike Mayock nevertheless is confident in the future of the Alabama offensive lineman.

Leatherwood had a second-round grade for most draft experts, but the Raiders believe they can insert him into the starting lineup right away.

The Raiders did turn around and select a player many believed would be a first-round talent in TCU's Trevon Moehrig in the second round.

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Mayock and the Raiders have emphasized drafting players from the best college football programs since he took over as GM in 2018. Leatherwood became the seventh player from the SEC drafted by the Raiders under the Mayock regime.

The Raiders traded Rodney Hudson, Trent Brown and Gabe Jackson this offseason, so offensive line definitely was an area of need going into the draft.

Leatherwood now will have a chip on his shoulder coming in, and he can prove all the experts wrong by becoming a foundational piece of the group tasked with protecting Derek Carr.