2021 NFL Draft: Jets, Panthers fill QB need in three-round mock draft

The New York Jets select Zach Wilson at No. 2 in the 2021 NFL Draft (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
The New York Jets select Zach Wilson at No. 2 in the 2021 NFL Draft (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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Rashawn Slater, 2021 NFL Draft
2021 NFL Draft prospect Rashawn Slater #70 of the Northwestern Wildcats (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

2021 NFL Draft: Round 1, 5th overall

Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Northwestern. Rashawn Slater. player. OL. 5. 56

The Cincinnati Bengals simply must make the offensive line their number one priority this offseason. The unit was an absolute mess last season and had rookie quarterback Joe Burrow running for his life more often than not.

They must work to find multiple upgrades up front this offseason and that could easily start in free agency. Brandon Scherff, Joe Thuney, Taylor Moton and Corey Linsley all make a ton of sense for Cincinnati and I would not be surprised to see the Bengals go out and make add at least one of the players mentioned above. However, no matter what they do in free agency, the offensive line will still likely be on their radar with the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

With Penei Sewell off of the board, Rashawn Slater stands out as an obvious target for the Bengals with this pick. Slater is a fantastic offensive lineman who shines as both a pass protector and run blocker.

He played both right and left tackle at Northwestern, consistently displaying impressive movement skills and fantastic power at the point of attack. Some teams are going to knock Slater for his limited arm length, but he is an impact blocker who would be an immediate upgrade at nearly any offensive line position for the Bengals.

Personally, I think Slater will shine as an offensive tackle at the next level. However, if his limited arm length does become an issue, he should be able to make a move inside and dominate. Make no mistake about it, Rashawn Slater is an impact offensive lineman who has massive upside at the most important position of need on this Bengals’ roster. He is undoubtedly worthy of this investment at No. 5.