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Inside some of the Raiders’ 2021 NFL Draft decisions

Despite at least one controversial pick, Las Vegas is very happy with its new draft class

NCAA Football:
Alex Leatherwood
Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

After some digging, I got some interesting tidbits about the Las Vegas Raiders’ 2021 draft and what they were thinking.

While the Raiders’ selection of Alabama right tackle Alex Leatherwood was “controversial” in the words of Las Vegas general manager Mike Mayock, the organization is extremely satisfied with the pick. In the end, that’s all that matters.

The morning after the Leatherwood pick, there was a report that there would be a front-office shakeup in Las Vegas because of it.

From what I’ve been told, no one inside the building is expecting any shake ups based on that draft choice. I was told emphatically that everyone was in lockstep with the Leatherwood choice and the Raiders were long focused on him.

The Raiders know Leatherwood may not be a perfect player and he may not have been rated high on every team’s draft board, but for them and their needs on their offensive line, they think he is a great fit. They expect him to be an immediate starter and play in the NFL for several years. So they’re very comfortable with the decision.

NCAA Football: Belk Bowl-Virginia Tech vs Kentucky
Divine Deablo
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The decision to draft three safeties — they took free safety Trevon Moehrig in the second round, and box safety/linebacker Divine Deablo and box safety Tyree Gillespie in the fourth round — was also questioned around the league. But the Raiders made these picks because they want to get specific fits for new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s system.

All three of these players are big and they can run. They are also able to play at different spots. What the Raiders are trying to do with their defensive additions are to create chess pieces to move around the field depending on the game situation. They felt they lack that ability in recent years.

Don’t think that the fact that the Raiders selected several players who are similar to recently-drafted players like Johnathan Abram, Tanner Muse and Amik Robertson has been lost on the team. They knew what they were doing. The likes of Abram, Muse and Robertson have definitely been put on notice by the franchise.

All in all, the Raiders feel great about this class. All teams do at this point. Now, it’s time to develop the players and see what happens.