Alabama Football: Waiting for the NFL paid off for Alex Leatherwood

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Former Alabama Football offensive lineman, Alex Leatherwood showed patience has rewards when he was selected by the Las Vegas Raiders in the NFL Draft first round. Leatherwood stayed the course in Tuscaloosa, returning for his senior season, and even before the NFL Draft, it was clear Alex gained much from the decision.

In the 2020 season, Leatherwood was chosen as a Unanimous, First-Team All-American. He won the SEC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy and the Outland Trophy. He and his Crimson Tide offensive line mates won the Joe Moore Award as the best offensive line in college football.

The awards defined a great college football career. Even greater for Alex was in 2020 he became a two-time Alabama Football National Champion. Fans sometimes forget the key role Leatherwood played while gaining his first National Championship. Against Georgia in the National Championship game, when stalwart left tackle, Jonah Williams was lost to a second-half injury, true freshman Leatherwood stepped in. Alex maintained that key role for the remainder of his Alabama Football career.

The individual awards and the team championships are exceptional honors, but perhaps Leatherwood’s finest Alabama Crimson Tide achievement was being elected by his teammates as a permanent captain.

The captain’s award shows the extent to which Leatherwood became a leader among his peers. No doubt he led on the practice field and in game action. He did much off the field as well. In June, 2020, Leatherwood came up with the idea for a video, voiced by Crimson Tide players and Nick Saban to stand together and speak up for justice and equality. Leatherwood wrote the video essay and was joined by numerous teammates and Nick Saban to make the statement. The writing was eloquent. It was also bold to speak out when other athletes had been disparaged for supporting Black Lives Matter. Sadly, not every Alabama Crimson Tide fan will agree but Alex Leatherwood should be commended for his bold action.

Without a traditional NFL Combine in 2021, Pro Days conducted by schools became especially important. Alex Leatherwood nailed his opportunity, wowing scouts with his 40-yard and 10-yard split times. His overall result in Relative Athletic Score was ranked No. 17 out of 1,109 offensive tackles ranked from 1987-2021.

The Raiders paid attention and knowing Leatherwood could play tackle or guard, chose Alex as the No. 17 pick in the first round.

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Congratulations to Alex. He is a fine young man and should have a solid NFL career.