After Alex Leatherwood's first media appearance as a Raider, it has been determined that he could care less about any of the rankings, labels or titles anyone has placed on him.
All he cares about is winning – and Leatherwood has done a hell of a lot of winning.
"I'm not the type of dude to fall into the media hype about drafts and all of that good stuff," said Alex Leatherwood regarding his draft stock. "I just did what I could do well, did the best that I could do and trust the process and it all went great."
"I’m just happy and excited to be a Raider, and I’m going to be the best at whatever position I play.” Alex Leatherwood
The former Crimson Tide captain has been a model of consistency since he packed his bags in Pensacola, Florida, and headed to Tuscaloosa. Leatherwood started 41 consecutive games at Alabama among the right guard and left tackle positions. He's coming off a phenomenal senior season in which he won SEC and CFP National Championships, won the Outland and Jacobs Blocking Awards and was a unanimous All-American selection. Leatherwood believes his consistency and versatility is what drew Head Coach Jon Gruden and General Manager Mike Mayock to him.
"I feel like I bring a great skillset. I have all the intangibles, great length, great speed, great athleticism. All of that good stuff. But as far as the position, we haven't talked about it yet and to be honest with you, it doesn't matter. I'm just happy and excited to be a Raider and I'm going to be the best at whatever position I play."
Mayock later said Leatherwood will play right tackle.
Meanwhile, Leatherwood is excited to be teamed back up with some familiar faces.
"Reuniting with Josh Jacobs, Henry Ruggs [III], Lester Cotton [Sr.] as well, they all know what it takes to win," said Leatherwood. "They know what it takes to be a champion. So just reuniting with them, hopefully we can bring a Super Bowl to Las Vegas."
Leatherwood attributes a lot of his success and will to compete to Alabama football and the program that he came up through led by seven-time national champion coach Nick Saban. The pressure Leatherwood has on him coming to Las Vegas is not much different than the pressure he dealt with in college, having to switch positions and contribute right out the jump as a true freshman.
"Definitely it was important for me to play early," Leatherwood said. "I didn't get to start as a freshman, but I accepted my role on the team ... and I was a backup. I just got in my bag and tried to perfect my craft as much as I could. Just coming from a place like (Alabama) and being around a lot of competition, I feel like that drove me to be even greater because I'm super competitive at nature. So, I felt like it was a great fit. It was a great spot to be in by nature. The nature of the program was a great fit.
"As far as me playing tackle and guard, my sophomore year, I was one of the best five so I had to find a spot on that line. I feel like playing guard and playing tackle, that just showed my versatility and my competitiveness as an athlete and an O-lineman. Being on the field, by any means, sacrificing for my team and just being a dog and competing and being on the field to contribute to win."
General Manger Mike Mayock was very excited to get Leatherwood from a "loaded" Alabama program and described him as Tom Cable's favorite prospect. He's a fan of what Leatherwood can provide at the right tackle position and is as happy about a reunion with Jacobs as he is.
"He is a tough guy, he's very aggressive, he's a powerful right tackle," said Mike Mayock on the Raiders first-round pick. "I think we're going to run the football better, and we're going to get Josh Jacobs to the second level more cleanly than we did last year."
"I think we're going to run the football and have some fun next year and people are going to like Leatherwood in the run game."
Alex Leatherwood will have the chance to capitalize on the success he had at Alabama and bring it to the desert. With offensive line guru Tom Cable ready to coach him up, and established pieces in Richie Incognito, Kolton Miller and Denzelle Good to guide him, the sky is the limit for this beast of a young man.
With the 17th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders select offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood.