A dominant Big Ten player that shows high potential to be an impact player on day 1 come the 2021 NFL season: OT Rashawn Slater, 22, Northwestern University
And with the __th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers select…
Probably not Rashawn Slater, unfortunately, but it sure would be neat. Slater is viewed as a top OT prospect. He played both tackle positions, but also has others believing he will be kicked inside to play a guard or center position.
Regardless of what others are speculating with Slater, we’ll take a dive into Slater from strictly his experience as a tackle and what he could potentially bring to the table for an NFL team like the Green Bay Packers.
Slater measured in at 6-foot-4 and 304 pounds on his pro day back on March 9th with a 33-inch arms. That arm length is probably one of the few big concerns about Slater as a prospect.
Rashawn Slater as a player was an absolute dog for Northwestern and started 37 career games for the wildcats. 26 of those came at right tackle in 2016 and 2017, then 11 starts his junior year at left tackle.
During those 11 total starts at left tackle, Slater gave up zero sacks.
That’s significant, considering he had to face off against top defensive prospect Chase Young that season.
Slater decided to sit out for the 2020 pandemic-shortened season, so he hasn’t played ball since 2019.
A big plus for Slater is he can win with his athleticism. He was graded with a 9.71 Relative Athletic Score (RAS), which ranks 34th out of 1,134 OTs from 1987 to 2021.
Rashawn Slater is a OT prospect in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 9.71 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 34 out of 1134 OT from 1987 to 2021. https://t.co/6lDu9ZaIuU #RAS via @Mathbomb pic.twitter.com/JoYWbrbh8t
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 5, 2021
Slater is yet another tackle in a baller OT class that is great at reaching the second level in the running game, and being able to maintain those blocks with his athleticism.
As previously mentioned, Slater has experience playing both tackle positions, and was pretty darn good at both, too.
A performance by Slater that cannot be overlook was his game back in 2019 against Ohio State, where he was often tasked with trying to keep defensive end (animal would probably be more appropriate) Chase Young at bay.
While Slater and Young weren’t going one-on-one nearly every down, when they were facing off, Slater was the player with the upper hand. He was able to showcase his mixture of technique and athleticism to keep the eventual number 2 pick away from the quarterback.
The biggest concern with Slater is his overall size. At just 304 pounds and shorter arms of 33 inches, he’s undersized compared to some of the other upper echelon tackles in this year’s class.
The biggest red flag with his weight is he spent the entirety of 2020 away from college football and instead was prepping for the draft, and seemed to gain little mass. If you want to play tackle on an NFL roster, you’ve gotta bulk up from the weight class he’s currently sitting at.
Overall, there is not much to be overly concerned about with Slater besides his size. From time to time he will get caught with not having low enough leverage/low enough hands on blocks in pass protection, but again this was a player who gave up zero sacks in an entire season where he was facing defenses which included Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa.
Rashawn Slater is widely viewed as an early first round prospect with his excellent technique with his footwork and athleticism along the edge, and his film against Chase Young likely has teams licking their lips and potentially drooling over the young players potential.
While some see him as a likely candidate for a position change, other teams might want be determined to keep Slater as a tackle – a position he was dominant at in a conference that is known for its defensive power. Slater has some issues revolving around his mass and arm length, but if given time to bulk up and grow stronger, Slater could become a great piece.
Slater is a player who will not (or at least shouldn’t) be available when the Packers are on the clock at 29, and likely won’t even be around if they decided to trade up in the draft. He’s just got those qualities that some will find it hard to pass on, regardless of his physical shortcomings.
Rashawn Slater is in the tier amongst other tackles like Penei Sewell and Christian Darrisaw, who all look to be taken no later than the mid-teens of the first round.