With just about a week to go before the 2021 NFL Draft kicks off, well-respected draft analyst and sports writer Matt Miller recently shared some rumors and notes he’s hearing from around the league. One such rumor is former Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater could be a “dream fit” with the Dallas Cowboys.
“The Dallas Cowboys have a big decision to make at No. 10 overall, with many analysts believing they have to draft a defender to help a miserable unit from last season. While I agree, don’t rule out offensive tackle. Speaking to a well-respected offensive line coach this week, he said there were rumors that Dallas is very concerned about the long-term ability of Tyron Smith and La’el Collins due to injury. If Rashawn Slater is available at No. 10, he would be a dream scheme fit should they go that route.” - Matt Miller
Hearing Rashawn Slater being linked to the Dallas Cowboys and the 10th overall pick isn’t new news for anybody who’s been paying attention throughout the draft process so far. He’s one of the top-ranked tackle prospects in the entire 2021 draft class and makes sense for the Cowboys considering both of their bookend tackles are coming off of season-ending injuries.
It’s a reasonable assessment from Matt Miller’s unnamed “source”. Tyron Smith’s inability to remain healthy for an entire season has been cause for concern for a few years now, and La’el Collins’ season-ending hip injury could possibly have lingering issues down the road. But, to state Dallas is “very concerned” about their offensive tackles sounds a bit dramatic.
A little over a month ago the Dallas Cowboys decided to restructure the contracts of Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, and La’el Collins to create roughly $17 million in salary cap relief. Why would Dallas push more money into the future if they were as concerned with Smith and Collins as Miller’s source suggests? That’s just not good business.
Good business or not, both Tyron Smith and La’el Collins are expected to be the starting tackles for the Cowboys for the foreseeable future. Yes, they carry a bit of an injury concern, but all signs and news point to them being healthy for the upcoming season. So, where does that leave a player like Rashawn Slater?
If the Dallas Cowboys do take Slater with the No. 10 pick in the first-round, it’s not with the idea of making him a plug-and-play tackle as a rookie. The more likely scenario is they kick him inside to left guard replacing Connor Williams and cross train him in cases his services are needed at left tackle.
It’s hard to classify that as a “dream fit”, but it does kind of kill two birds with one stone. Rashawn Slater would more than likely be an upgrade at LG and also provide much-needed LT insurance in case the unthinkable happens to Tyron Smith once again. It definitely sounds like a win-win for the Dallas Cowboys.
Slater is definitely a player to keep an eye on for the Cowboys in the first round on April 29 when the NFL Draft finally kicks off. Whether or not they go that direction though is something we will have to wait to find out.