The Future 2021 NFL Draft Prospects: Rashawn Slater
Updated: Apr 2, 2021
Rashawn Slater is my 2nd ranked offensive lineman in this class behind Penei Sewell out of Oregon. Sewell comes in at 6'4, 304lbs, and measured in with 33-inch arms which is slightly short for a left tackler with many teams wanting arm length to be 34inches or longer. Slater is most famous for his 2019 performance against Chase Young where he neutralized Young whenever they were lined up against each other. Granted there were many reps where a running back or tight end would chip or double Young, there were still some reps where Slater was left on an island against Young and consistently won. He is the most technically sound blocker in this class and should be able to step in as a day 1 starter. Below I'll discuss his ability in pass protection, his length, his lateral mobility, how well he uses his hands, his zone and power blocking, his power at the point of attack (POA), how well he can anchor, his versatility, and his athletic ability/size.
Pass Pro- As I said above he is the most technically sound blocker in this class. He stays balanced, has very good, quick feet to drop into his pass set, and beat speed rushers on the edge. He is precise and accurate with his hands with the ability to reset when they are swiped away. He shows solid bend in his knees and doesn't lean over his feet and he knows how to use his athleticism and his technique to his advantage to win.
Length- His arm length is below average as he measured at 33 inches at his pro day and it could result in him being moved inside to one of the guard positions if a team believes his length is going to be a problem. This length does show up at times as edge rushers can get the initial contact but Slater is very good at being able to use his technique to make up for his lack of length.
Lateral Mobility- Slater moves very well to say the least. In the run game, he easily moves up to the 2nd level to block linebackers and box safeties. In pass pro, he is smooth to kick back into his pass set and moves well to change direction when edge rushers try to beat him inside. The Northwestern offense utilized a lot of moving pockets and Slater thrived when having to move laterally.
Hands- This is the best part of Slater's game. His hand technique is the best in this class and helps make up for his lack of length. His timing, placement, and ability to control and steer edge rushers are all elite and it's what makes him such an interesting prospect. He has a good initial pop when initiating contact and will immediately be one of the more technical blockers in the game.
Zone Block- He is a perfect fit for any zone scheme. He is quick and smooth with his movements and is easily able to make blocks at the 2nd level. He takes god angles and knows how to use his leverage to his advantage to create running lanes for his backs. His power is solid, I don't see him as a mauler, to move defenders in zone schemes.
Power Block- Slater is solid in the power game. He is athletic enough to be able to play as a pulling lineman and lead block for his backs but he is best in space when he can use his momentum to create power at the POA. He is quick off the snap but again I don't see him as a mauler who is going to consistently create a push in one on one situations every down.
Power at POA- He is a physical blocker who is better in zone concepts where he can use leverage and get to the 2nd level and play in space. His hand power is very good though as he can often jolt defenders back with the initial contact and he is very quick off the ball which gives him that first step advantage.
Anchor- His ability to anchor down is good. He will often give up some ground on the initial push but he does a good job to bend his knees, keep his pad level low, and sink his hips to anchor down and counter that initial push. His functional strength is good and I'd like to see him anchor a little sooner so he doesn't give up so much on that initial push.
Versatility- He is the most versatile lineman in this draft class. He could play at all 5 positions and play with a lot of success. I don't think his ceiling may be as high as some other prospects as a left tackle but he could easily bump inside to a guard position and have a ton of success.
Athletic Ability/Size- His athletic ability is elite for a lineman as shown by his 4.88 40 yard dash. This kid can move and it's often shown on tape when he is asked to lead block on screens or when pulling to the outside. His size he good for a tackle with the only issue coming with his length. I would like to see him start his career as a left tackle and be given the opportunity to show what he can do in that position.