NFL Draft: Alex Leatherwood seems like a Ravens pick at 27
The Baltimore Ravens are more than ready for the 2021 NFL Draft. After a trade that sent Orlando Brown Jr. to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Ravens have two picks in the back end of the first round. Replacing Brown Jr. is a key for a successful draft. Enter Alex Leatherwood.
Imagine being Alex Leatherwood. You’re a massive tackle who has put on rock solid tape. You’ve been winning national championships at Alabama, the program that’s so good it almost makes College Football anti-climatic. The NFL Draft is days away and other offensive tackles are hogging the spotlight.
When people start talking offensive tackles for Thursday night, they mention other names before Leatherwood. They talk up Rashawn Slater, Peneii Sewell, Christian Darrisaw, and Tevin Jenkins. Don’t get it twisted, those are three incredible prospects. Slater is the best athlete in the position group. Sewell has very little in the way of red flags and Darrisaw simply takes the lunch money of defensive ends.
The strength of this offensive tackle class is off the charts. It’s so good that there is a chance that the 6-5 312 pound tackle from the best offensive line in College Football could be available with the 27th overall pick. That’s insane when you think about it.
Orlando Brown Jr. was taken in the third round. The NFL Scouting Combine slipped him down the board. Before the scouting combine, Brown Jr. was thought of as the top tackle. If it weren’t for him looking sluggish in spandex, the massive tackle from Oklahoma would have been as safe as a pick comes.
We know what happened. The Ravens drafted him and it worked out. The Ravens got a top-shelf prospect at a bargain. Leatherwood isn’t going to drop till the third round, however, he may be the fourth or fifth offensive lineman off the board. When I look at how solid his tape is, that seems like a hard reality to accept.
The offensive tackles in this draft class make it a dealer’s choice. There’s a lot to like about each of the top prospects. Sewell looks the part and has great footwork. Slater is about as quick as an offensive lineman ever will be. Darrisaw has a ton of toughness.
Leatherwood is a nice mixture of everything you’re looking for if you’re the Ravens. He’s an experienced player from Alabama. The Ravens are going to gravitate to that, even though Ozzie Newsome isn’t calling the shots anymore. Leatherwood is physically imposing and is a hammer of a run blocker. He’s a smooth pass protector, he just checks all the boxes.
The Bottom Line:
If there is a prospect that has Ravens written all over it, Leatherwood’s the guy. It wouldn’t be the flashy pick, though it would be a solid and sensible pick. Leatherwood near the end of the first round is a safe pick and a great value pick. It’s quintessentially everything the Purple and Black look for in a first-round pick.
If the Ravens pick Leatherwood, he’s going to fit right in.