2021 NFL Draft: Do not forget about Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater

Rashawn Slater may not be fresh on our minds, but he is still an exciting 2021 NFL Draft prospect with big-time upside.

It was all set up well for Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater to have a big senior season and improve his 2021 NFL Draft stock. Slater was a three-year starting offensive tackle at Northwestern and was about to begin his second season as the Wildcats’ starting left tackle, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything.

The Big Ten canceled the fall football season (before eventually deciding to play) and Slater decided not to risk anything, opting to sit out the 2020 season in order to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. While I do not blame Slater for making the right decision for himself, it is certainly a bummer that we have not been able to see him for another season at Northwestern.

I have recently popped on some 2019 Northwestern tape and I am just here to tell you; do not forget about Rashawn Slater. This guy is a premier offensive lineman in the 2021 NFL Draft class and should undoubtedly be in the first-round discussion.

Slater’s game is built on power and aggressiveness. He fires off of the ball in an instant and shows impressive power at the point of attack. He is a mean and nasty run blocker who clears out rushing lanes with ease and does a fantastic job of moving his feet and staying under control as a second-level blocker.

An aggressive blocker who could shine inside or outside

Slater is a solid athlete for an offensive tackle, but he is a much better player when he is allowed to play forward and attack. He lacks ideal patience in pass protection at times and it does get him in trouble.

That being said, if his NFL team understands this, they can set him up for consistent success up front. Slater is always at his best when he is playing forward, allowing him to set up in pass protection quickly and attack the defensive end as opposed to sitting back and waiting is a recipe for success for this player. This also could mean a move to the inside is for the best.

At offensive guard, Slater would naturally be playing forward and attacking much more often. His lack of ideal length would fit better on the inside as well. I am not saying that Slater must be moved inside at the next level, but his skills may be better suited at the offensive guard position. If his NFL team wants to play him at tackle, they would be wise to let Slater set up quickly and attack aggressively.

Whether he stays at tackle or moves to guard, Rashawn Slater is an extremely talented offensive lineman who will make an impact at the next level. Sitting out this season may cause Slater to slip from our minds a bit, but his 2021 NFL Draft stock should not slip. This guy is a gifted player who has a high ceiling at the next level.