2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: IOL Alex Leatherwood

Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Under the tutelage of former 1993 Heisman Trophy winner and Florida State quarterback Charlie Ward at Booker T. Washington High School (Florida), playing along both the offensive and defensive line, Leatherwood was known to dominate the competition no matter the arena. Committing to the Crimson Tide prior to his junior season, his allegiance never wavered and he was beyond excited to join “the factory” of talent that Nick Saban engineered. So much that he took extra credits during his final semester in order to become an early enrollee in Tuscaloosa (Jan. 2017). Upon his arrival, he provided instant depth to one of the best units in the country. Playing in seven games at left tackle, he mainly served as depth behind Jonah Williams. Thrust into action in the 2018 National Championship game due to injury, he was the blind-side protector during the second half in helping the program secure a 26-23 overtime victory over Georgia. As a sophomore, he was moved inside to right guard. Starting all 15 games, Leatherwood was a part of an interior group that blocked for an offense that was ranked as the sixth-best in the nation. During his final two seasons, he served as the team's left tackle. He has made 38 consecutive starts (and counting) in 45 career games played.

Leatherwood is a prospect that’s had experience at both guard and offensive tackle. Containing a towering and filled-out frame in many areas, he has adequate strength as a run blocker as he’s able to attach and drive defenders out of desired areas. His aggressiveness is a key ingredient to success in the run game, as he can completely overpower targets that he’s able to square up and land his body cleanly on. As a pass protector, Leatherwood has a clean pass set that’s able to gain ground up the field in order to stymie rushers that simply attack him vertically. His issues come against wise rushers that have the flexibility to alter and change their thought processes mid-rep. Leatherwood has stiffness in his lower half that doesn’t allow him to match the quick movements from twitchy edge defenders, which forces him into performing panic techniques by lunging and placing all of his weight forward. While Leatherwood has a wealth of experience at offensive tackle, his better long-term outlook may be at guard because of the limitations in his lower body. Still, the team that drafts him should experiment with him at offensive tackle to test his development and consistency there, but his upside could be greater at guard where his room to operate is condensed—which can mask some of the deficiencies contained in his lower body.

Ideal Role: Starting right or left guard that first should be experimented with at right or left tackle.

Scheme Fit: Man/Gap/Power blocking scheme.

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Written By:

Jordan Reid

Senior NFL Draft Analyst

Jordan Reid is a Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Gaining experience from various lenses of the game, he has previously served as a college quarterback, position coach, and recruiting coordinator at North Carolina Central University. He now serves as a Color Commentator for FloSports, covering both high school and college football games around the country while also being the host of The Reid Option Podcast.