One of the big surprises of Round 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft was Alabama offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood going to the Las Vegas Raiders at No. 17 overall. Raiders general manager Mike Mayock recently addressed the controversy with the media.

“We knew it would be controversial,” Mayock told reporters. “We completely understand that.”

Mayock explained that Leatherwood was a favorite prospect of offensive line coach Tom Cable.

“Coach Cable has been all over him for months now,” Mayock said to the media. “(Jon) Gruden loved this guy. Our scouts loved this guy. And what I like is, when the second floor in our building, which is all the coaches, and the third floor, which is all the scouts, when we’re united on a conversation like Leatherwood, that makes me feel really good about the pick.”

Leatherwood heads to the NFL coming off of a senior season where he won the Outland Trophy and earned first-team All-America honors by the Associated Press, CBS Sports,, the FWAA, The Sporting News and USA Today as well as first-team All-SEC recognition from the AP and the league coaches. Leatherwood’s Alabama bio notes he averaged an overall blocking grade of 91.5 by the Alabama coaching staff and a 99.7 on assignments.

Only time will tell who is right about the use of the 17th pick on Leatherwood.

[H/T Las Vegas Review-Journal]