2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Rashawn Slaterby Mason Thompson January 5, 2021 1 comment
The 2021 offensive line class is deep. After last year had four tackles go within the first 15 picks, teams are finally starting to fix their offensive line woes. This year, there may not be four tackles to go off of the board within the first 15 picks, but there are plenty of prospects that could be in the conversation for the first round. No player has had a better pre-draft process during the NFL season than Rashawn Slater. His 2019 tape was excellent, and as a result, he opted out of the 2020 season.
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Name: Rashawn Slater
Position: Offensive Tackle
Weight: 315 lbs
Pass Blocking (8/10)
Slater has some issues with faster edge rushers. One of the main reasons he continues to climb draft boards was his performance against Chase Young in 2019. While he didn’t play the whole game against Young, he held him in check whenever he was tasked with keeping him away from the ball. In most of the plays, there was also a tight end or running back that helped chip in along with Slater.
Run Blocking (8.75/10)
Slater is a better run blocker than pass blocker. He is at his best when he can move one defender out of the play and go to the next level. Even as a tackle, he was used to block the defender on the right side from his left tackle spot.
He can move to the next level quickly. Slater shucks the first defender and immediately moves on to a linebacker to clear a lane for the running backs.
Slater gives a lot of room in pass protection. He’s confident in his ability to backtrack back to the rusher opposing him and can get his hands back on him. Northwestern ran mostly quick passes, so Slater doesn’t have the most experience with a vertical offense. If he is in a vertical offense at the next level, he may have issues with how long he has to keep blocking.
Slater has enough strength to help out on the interior, and he can move up to the next level after taking out a defensive tackle at the first level.
Once Slater gets his hand on a defender, it’s over. He can knock a defender flat in an instant. In pass protection, Slater contains the pass rushers. He has been flagged for a few holding calls that could’ve been avoided, and he will sometimes have his hands go outside, which results in those holding penalties.
Slater looks like he can play at all five spots on the offensive line. He spent time at both right and left tackle at Northwestern but can play as an interior lineman at the next level.
Some teams will only have him listed as an interior player due to his lack of elite length. Others, he still meets the threshold to play one of the tackle slots.
Football IQ (9.5/10)
It seems as though he knows what the defender is going to do before the snap. Playing at both sides of the line has given him a lot more knowledge about what players can do on either side and what moves they can attempt.
Competitive Toughness (5/5)
He can win with power or finesse. Slater helps create big gashes for the running backs to run through and is always looking for someone else to block.
Slater only missed one game, which was against Nebraska in 2019, for an undisclosed injury. Other than that, he played in every other game during his collegiate career.
Versatile players are becoming one of the most sought after things in the NFL. Whether it be in the secondary, or specifically on the offensive line, the league is transitioning to players that can play in a variety of different roles. Slater is one of the players that doesn’t have a set position at the next level. Some teams will want him to stay as a tackle, while others will want him to move inside. Slater can play any of the five positions on the offensive line, similar to what the Packers have in Elgton Jenkins. Slater opted out of the 2020 season and is relying on his 2019 tape and his versatility to be a high pick in the draft. He will likely be in the conversation for the Chargers and Vikings picks in the early teens, and that’s when the talk of him being selected will start. The comparison for Slater is Jonah Williams as many thought he could transition, and be a guard in the NFL after being a tackle in college.
Final Grade (88/100): Mid-First Round
Player Comparison: Jonah Williams