3. NY Jets draft target: Alex Leatherwood, Alabama
Anytime you’re selecting a first-round prospect from Alabama, you’re typically making the right choice. As such, Leatherwood should be someone the Jets are keeping a close eye on.
The 6-foot-5, 312-pound senior had a great career with the Crimson Tide and is coming off a National Championship win over Ohio State.
Thanks to his ability to overpower defenses, Leatherwood played a key role in protecting Mac Jones and helping him get the ball out to open receivers.
Leatherwood is projected to be a first-round draft pick this year, but should very well be available at the No. 23 pick for New York. Over his career in Alabama, he played both guard and tackle, so he’s well-versed in both positions.
The Draft Network’s Jordan Reid described Leatherwood as a great pass protector, but mentioned that he could be better suited playing the guard position due to stiffness that he possesses in his lower half.
“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.”
Based on his athleticism alone, Leatherwood would be a safe pick for the Jets and would make for a towering guard, paired with Mekhi Becton.
Not only is he a great athlete, but he has sizeable power and length that makes him an excellent lineman in both the passing and rushing game.
Regardless of who the Jets select, they need to address the offensive line with the No. 23 overall pick because there are a ton of prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft who can help their team immediately.