Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock didn’t need to wait for the reaction to the team’s first-round pick to come rolling in to know what it would be.
Mayock told reporters he knew the selection of former Alabama tackle Alex Leatherwood would be “controversial” given the way most people ranked the players at the position. Leatherwood was usually ranked behind players like Christian Darrisaw, who went 23rd to the Vikings, and Teven Jenkins, who was not picked.
It’s something Mayock and the Raiders have made a habit of doing in the first round the last few years, but many of the picks haven’t panned out as hoped. Leatherwood said he’s excited about the chance to show they made the correct call this time.
“I’m not like a media guy,” Leatherwood said, via Levi Damien of USAToday.com. “I’m not the type of dude to get caught up in all that garbage because I know what my film said about me and the G.M. and the coach they know that as well, so I’m just grateful that they watched that film and they saw me as good enough to be the 17th overall pick. So, I’m more than excited to get to the program and prove them right. Not necessarily like prove all the haters, the people who made all the mock drafts and stuff wrong, but to prove myself and the Raiders organization right because I’m thankful and grateful for them.”
Pre-draft rankings will have no bearing on what happens for Leatherwood now and they’ll fade away if he helps the team to their first winning season since Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden landed their current jobs.