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Raiders’ first-round pick Alex Leatherwood making strong early impression on veterans

He is working with first-unit offensive line

2021 NFL Draft
Alex Leatherwood
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Alex Leatherwood was widely considered a reach when he was drafted by the Las Vegas Raiders with the No. 17 overall pick.

That, however, doesn’t matter inside the walls of the team’s Henderson, Nevada headquarters. Leatherwood, a right tackle from Alabama, has been working with the first-team offense this week in OTA sessions.

He is earning strong early reviews from his teammates.

“He’s a big body. He comes from a storied program at Alabama, and he’s done a ton of winning, a couple national championships under his belt,” Raiders’ left guard Richie Incognito told reporters Wednesday.” He’s a quiet kid. I texted with him a little bit after he got drafted and things have been so hectic here just getting back and getting into some things. But he’s quiet, he’s a hard worker. He’s picking up on what Coach (offensive line coach Tom) Cable is laying down and I expect him to have a big year.”

Leatherwood has also caught the attention of teammates on the other side of the ball.

“I like the idea that he just come in and go to work<“ Las Vegas defensive end Clelin Ferrell said. “I think him coming from Alabama and me coming from Clemson, I think one of the biggest things he learned is he already kind of knew how to conduct himself like a pro. So, he already practices in a manner to where he knows the tempo, he’s not really overwhelmed with too much of the plays. I know he had some mistakes, but I think the biggest thing is that he kind of came in with like a pro mentality. Not very young and naïve, and if he does something wrong his head isn’t down, he’s kind of on to the next play already. So, I think that early mindset is going to be good for him because as we all know one of the hardest things to come in and do is play right tackle, or especially left tackle in the league, so I think he’s got a good mindset so far, so early on.”

It’s early, but it seems like Leatherwood has some good momentum building, heading into his rookie season.