Alex Leatherwood 2021 NFL Draft Profile

Overview

Position: Offensive Tackle

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 312 lbs.

School: Alabama Crimson Tide

Pro Day Performance Data

40-yard dash: 4.96

Vertical jump: 34 1/2

Broad jump: 9’10”

225 Lb. Bench Reps: N/A

Alex Leatherwood 2021 NFL Draft Profile

Fresh off of his National Championship victory with the Crimson Tide, Alex Leatherwood is a tantalizing offensive line prospect. Leatherwood was Alabama’s most valuable blocker on a star-powered line of Landon Dickerson and Deonte Brown. He started 40 games at Alabama, covering up the blindside for Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa, and Mac Jones, three NFL-level quarterbacks. From week one, he presents a keen understanding of the importance of keeping a star quarterback upright. 

Leatherwood can look a little slow-footed and will certainly need a little work to become a better finisher. Too often, he lets his match-up stay in the play in pass blocking sets, something that will hurt against NFL defenders. Still, Leatherwood is a bully in the running game and helped propel Najee Harris to an outstanding 2020 season. Harris finished with 1,466 rushing yards, the third-most in college, and 26 rushing touchdowns, leading the nation. In no small part, Leatherwood was there to push the trenches and get Harris room to roam. 

While Alex Leatherwood does have a pretty high upside, it’ll be important to factor in his best and worst traits. Primarily, some teams view him as an interior offensive lineman, where some of his best traits shine brightest. Leatherwood has a muscular frame and high-level physicality could kick him to guard at the professional level. Regardless, the promise of Leatherwood as a study, a trustworthy lineman with positional flexibility will be attractive to front offices around the league. Playing with Nick Saban, he’s had the chance to see teammates turn professional regularly. Further, playing on some elite teams will give him the vision it takes to chase down championships at the next level. 

Strengths

  • An outstanding run blocker who handles ends and linebackers without much cause for concern
  • Great footwork and technique already built into his infrastructure
  • His strength allows him to absorb pass rushers with ease 
  • Seemingly impossible to move; defenders have to go wide if they want a shot at getting around Leatherwood
  • Has a Clear understanding of blocking concepts in the running game and will help runners get their lane
  • Experience on two National Championship-winning lines can’t be underrated

Weaknesses

  • Doesn’t always finish pass rushers at the point of attack
  • Generally needs to find ways to keep defensive players out of the play
  • Occasionally lets plays continue to develop from a spectator’s position
  • Probably needs a little more lateral speed and/or quickness to excel in the pro game
  • Played with many elite teammates who could cover up his weaknesses against lesser competition
  • Still needs to develop combat skills as a tackle if he expects to stay at that position

NFL Comparison: Taylor Moton

Teams With Need at Position: Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans, New York Jets, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts

Projection: Early Second Round

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Bottom Line on Alex Leatherwood

Clearly, there’s a lot to like about Leatherwood as a prospect. It’s easy to imagine a situation where he’s a day-one starter on just about any needy offensive line in the league. The next step for him will be establishing a set position and maximizing his skill set in that area. If he’s a guard, he’ll need to add more of a bully-ball side to his pass blocking game. If he stays at tackle, it’s hard to see him as a franchise blindside protector. However, he could be a high-quality option at the right tackle in the long-term. If Leatherwood is a guard, he’ll need to add more speed and finishing-ability to his game. 

Regardless, there’s enough already built into his game to trust him as a likely long-term offensive starter. Even with this year’s deep offensive line class, he should be one of the earliest names off of the board. Further, with many teams needing a boost up front, Leatherwood could even sneak into the late first round. Leatherwood might need some time to develop his best game, but he can provide immediate help for some teams. There should be a lot of interest in the tackle during the first two rounds of the draft.

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