The Las Vegas Raiders made one of the most surprising picks of the first round of the NFL Draft, selecting Alabama offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood with the 17th pick. Many draft experts were shocked by the pick, as Leatherwood was rated as a likely second-round selection by prognosticators such as ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.
The Raiders certainly aren’t bothered by the critics. In fact, their social media team openly had some fun with it, taking a shot at said draft experts in a tweet sent Friday.
Regardless of what any 'draft expert' said, GM Mike Mayock and Coach Gruden saw a starting right tackle in Alex Leatherwood.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) April 30, 2021
The Raiders have become notorious for reaching in the draft. Clelin Ferrell, their first-round pick in 2019, and 2020 first-rounder Damon Arnette were also big surprises who weren’t ranked anywhere near where they were taken, at least according to most prognosticators. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but neither Ferrell nor Arnette has done much to justify the Raiders’ faith so far.
Raiders GM Mike Mayock has heard the critics before . For better or worse, it’s not going to deter him from going with his instincts. That said, while they likely had nothing to do with that tweet, both Mayock and Jon Gruden will really be hoping it doesn’t come back to bite them in a few years.