Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater deserves far more attention as potential Cowboys pick

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Ben Glassmire
·4 min read
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The Dallas Cowboys offensive line was widely considered one of the best in the league for a long period of time. In the past few years it has begun to go downhill, but there is no reason to think it can’t return to its prior form when Tyron Smith and La’el Collins get fully healthy. While it is still a distinct possibility the offensive line will return next season fully healthy and once again ready to dominant, in a class with elite top-end talent at the offensive tackle position there is no reason why the team shouldn’t at least think about considering one of them at No. 10 overall.

These top-end talents include Oregon’s Penei Sewell, Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw, and the topic of this profile Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater. All three would be solid fits for the Cowboys if they do choose to look in that direction in round one but how well would Slater specifically fit with the team?

Measurables (Pro Day Verified)

Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Height: 6-foot-4 Weight: 304 Pounds Hand Size: 10 1/2 Inches Arm Length: 33 Inches Wingspan: 80 1/8 Inches

Athletic Testing

Via Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb on Twitter). RAS or Relative Athletic Score measures a player’s athleticism in reference to other players’ combine results.

Games Watched

Wisconsin (2019), Ohio State (2019), Minnesota (2019)

Strengths

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Good against any type of speed rush, shows off great lateral mobility and ability to keep up with anyone trying to beat him around the edge. Excellent awareness of stunts and incoming blitzers, redirects himself extremely well to help deal with different rush concepts. Has experience playing anywhere on the offensive line, will be extremely valuable for teams. Hands are active even when initial extension doesn't land, helps him neutralize many counter moves. Fantastic hand placement especially on initial strike, able to get in favorable positions to control rushers. Leverage is a plus, can be considered a bit undersized but does use it to his advantage in some situations. Overall very technically sound, not many egregious issues to fix. One of the few offensive linemen who could neutralize Chase Young. Effort is fantastic on every snap, even when the team was down 30 he was still going hard to the whistle.

Weaknessess

Has some trouble with bullrushes that knock him back into the quarterback. Anchor could use some improvement, really doesn't have the strength/technique in this area yet to plant himself and stop any backward movement, again really only happens against stronger rushers. Length is an obvious concern, will need to meet thresholds for some but tape shows it doesn't impact him much. Can be stiff in the hips at times, especially when reorienting himself around the edge.

Grading

Power: 8/10 Lateral Movement: 4/5 Hand Usage: 8.5/10 Overall Technique: 8.5/10 Run Blocking: 7/10 Pass Blocking: 8.5/10 Anchor: 2/5 Pulling Ability: 4/5 Frame: 2/5 Consistency: 5/5 Grade: 7.667/10 (1st Round Value)

Player Summary

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Slater was one of the only college football players that was able to contain Chase Young in 2019. Slater's tape against Ohio State will be some of the best film in the class regardless of position. Slater has versatility across the offensive line and while he may not meet some arm length thresholds he consistently shows that he can dominate against any player lined up against him. He is technically sound for the most part and really only needs to improve his anchor and some minor things when working into space. He will be a plug and play wherever a team chooses to utilize him. Slater will likely hear his name called early in round one.

Fit with the Cowboys

Slater would be a near-flawless fit with the Cowboys if they do choose to go the offensive tackle route in Round 1. Slater has experience across the offensive line and with Tyron Smith still starting at left tackle (where Slater has been projected to in the NFL) slotting him in at guard could maximize his skills immediately. The team would then have the option of keeping Slater at guard if he thrives or kicking him out to tackle if Smith gets injured or doesn't return to his elite form. With the way the board is looking to shake out, it is becoming more and more of a possibility Slater is on the board when the team is on the clock. This would put the Cowboys in a bind depending on the cornerbacks still left available. If it were up to me Patrick Surtain, Jaycee Horn, Penei Sewell, and Kyle Pitts would all have to be off the board for me to consider Slater, but he would be a fantastic pick in any case.

Other Profiles of candidates for No. 10

https://cowboyswire.usatoday.com/?p=667750 https://cowboyswire.usatoday.com/lists/dallas-cowboys-jaycee-horn-2021-nfl-draft-scouting-report/ https://cowboyswire.usatoday.com/lists/dallas-cowboys-patrick-surtain-ii-scouting-report-2021-nfl-draft/ https://cowboyswire.usatoday.com/?p=667557

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