While it’s fun to focus mostly on explosive skill position players heading into the 2021 NFL Draft, successful teams usually use the draft to bolster their depth up front.
One of the first offensive linemen taken later this week will be Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater. He is projected to be a stalwart protector for many years to come. Slater’s resume during his college career is very impressive. Let's have a closer look at it here.
2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Rashawn Slater
--Height: 6' 4".
--Weight: 315 pounds.
--Position: Offensive Tackle.
2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Rashawn Slater’s Strengths
Having started for Northwestern for the last three seasons, Rashawn Slater is no stranger to elite-level competition.
He welcomed the challenge of keeping elite-level pass rushers out of his backfield, doing an admirable job on former Ohio State and current Washington Football team edge rusher Chase Young.
Rashawn Slater is not often knocked off his position, as he possesses great strength and is not overpowered by opposing defenders.
In addition to being very strong, Slater also moves very well for his massive size. Not only is he reliable in pass protection, but he’s also an asset in the running game.
Slater has quick feet and great awareness on the perimeter and should have any problem on the perimeter on toss or sweep plays, where he’s setting the edge.
2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Rashawn Slater’s Weaknesses
Slater is a pretty well-rounded prospect and shouldn’t have too many issues in the NFL, but he has a few weaknesses.
Some evaluators have a minor concern about Slater’s reach not being ideal for an NFL tackle and that he might be more suited to play guard in a more compact area. Against the fastest NFL edge rushers, it might be difficult for Slater to get a hand on them if he can’t catch up with them laterally.
Slater’s ultimate NFL position might also be a bit unclear. As alluded to above, some teams might see him being more effective at guard. However, even if he’s a tackle at the next level, it’s not a shoo-in that he’ll slide in at left tackle.
It’s possible that he starts off on the right side and eventually works his way inside or to the glamour position on the offensive line as a left tackle.
2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profiles: Rashawn Slater’s Career at Northwestern
Rashawn Slater set himself apart in the Northwestern football team in 2018 and 2019. He rarely conceded negative plays and was one of the most reliable players in his team.
In 2018, he was named in the third team all conference for his impressive play.
Like many of the top players in the 2021 NFL Draft, Rashawn Slater opted to sit out of the 2020 season.
It’s going to be interesting to see if that affects where teams value the NFL draft prospect. In theory, missing a season for an offensive lineman shouldn’t be as debilitating as missing time at a different position, considering that they do most of their work in a finite space anyway.