Looking at another prospect for the Cowboys #10 pick in the 2021 draft brings us to the offensive line. Today, we look at offensive tackle Rashawn Slater.
Name: Rashawn Slater
Extremely fluid athlete for a big-man showing the knee-bend, hip fluidity, and footwork to succeed as both an excellent pass protector and run blocker. Nasty finisher with the ability to make his presence felt against opposing defensive linemen. Possesses violent hands at the point of attack to move defenders in the running game, but also very aware of when he needs to catch linemen with softer mitts. Dude is a hoss at the point of attack and when on the move. If you think you’re going to overpower him, think again. Keeps arms tight into frame, and rarely gets over-extended. Extremely versatile with the ability to play all five spots on the offensive line at a high-level. Succeeded as a down-blocker, move-blocker, and second-level blocker at Northwestern. Anchors in against power extremely well, and showed the ability to recover when beaten without possessing dynamic length at the position.
As you’ve probably heard, Slater lacks the ideal arm length to live outside at tackle, but it rarely showed up on tape as a weakness. Struggled to gain consistent depth in his pass sets working against speed rushers. Vertical pass sets and footwork when gaining depth in the pocket could use some cleaning up. He could have a long career at tackle, some teams are going to view him as a long-term option at iOL due to his traits, or lack thereof. Opted out of 2020, so teams will be very interested in offseason training and build with a year off.
After gaining a lot of hype at the end of the college football season, some have seemed to have cooled down on the Rashawn Slater hype. That’ll happen after not seeing him at all in 2020, but Slater is still a top 10 player in this class given his ability to play tackle, and all of the interior spots as well at a high-level. Though they are different players, Slater reminds me a lot of my evaluation of Tristan Wirfs coming out of Iowa last year, who many wanted to move to guard due to his lack of length and lack of consistency in vertical pass sets, but as we saw from Wirfs in 2020, those issues can be corrected rather easily. Slater’s functional athleticism, size, and technique both as a pass protector and run defender could have his named called with the 10th overall pick, if the Cowboys don’t feel great about the long-term health of Tyron Smith and La’el Collins, or if the team would like to upgrade at left guard, while planning for the future at tackle.
1st (#7 Overall)
Enjoyed watching former Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater. I think he’s a tackle. The 2019 game vs. Ohio State sold me on that. He handled Chase Young well. There will be some teams that grade him as an IOL though. pic.twitter.com/ZiNIND40uX— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) November 5, 2020