Rashawn Slater 2021 NFL Draft Profile: Why Giants should target Northwestern tackle

Alex Smith
Rashawn Slater treated art 2021 NFL Draft
Rashawn Slater treated art 2021 NFL Draft

The Giants have a chance to land a real difference-maker with the 11th overall selection as they continue to rebuild.

With the draft approaching, we're taking an in-depth look at some potential options for the Giants. Here’s a look at Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater...

By the Numbers

- Height: 6-foot-4
- Weight: 304 pounds
- 40-yard dash: 4.88 seconds (Pro Day)
- Vertical jump: 33 inches (PSU Pro Day)
- Stats: N/A
- Accolades & Awards: 2018 All-Big 10 Third Team, 2019 All-Big 10 Honorable Mention

Prospect Overview

NFL.com: Three-year starter with experience at both left and right tackle positions. His compact frame carries play strength that can be filed in the "grown man" category, as evidenced by his heads-up battles against 2020 No. 2 overall pick Chase Young in 2019. Slater operates with confidence and efficient movement that sees him in position to get his job done on most snaps. His lack of length will lead some teams to view him as a guard, but the footwork and talent outside might be worth allowing him to prove it at tackle first. His combination of strength, athletic ability and quick processing should make him one of the safer offensive line picks in this draft and an early starter.

The Draft Network: Rashawn Slater is a scheme diverse and positional flexible prospect who should offer a little something to everyone depending on what specific needs and traits are prioritized for any given franchise. Slater, who opted out of the 2020 college season and has not played since the end of the 2019 campaign, is well regarded for his fundamentals and functional athleticism along the front. Slater manned the left tackle position for the Wildcats. For teams that don’t prioritize certain measurable thresholds, he appears to be a viable candidate to do the same in the NFL—based specifically on his work against 2020 No. 2 overall pick Chase Young in pass protection. But Slater’s ceiling is likely lowest on the edge and the further into the heart of the line he transitions, the higher his potential is to become a perennial Pro Bowl player and potential All-Pro candidate in my eyes. Slater has tremendous cutoff abilities and clean, patient footwork working space and the necessary functional strength to hold his own on the interior. The position flexibility he offers ensures he can be a part of any NFL offensive line’s combination of best five players to start up front from Day 1.

Why Slater makes sense for Giants

Much like USC draft prospect Alijah Vera-Tucker, Slater is an interesting option because of his versatility along the line. While he played left and right tackle for the Wildcats, many draft experts seem to think he's best suited down the road inside at guard or even center, due in part to his short arms for a lineman.

That versatility makes sense for a team like the Giants, who don't have many pieces locked in on their offensive line for years to come, outside of Andrew Thomas, who figures to be penciled in at left tackle barring a huge drop-off in performance.

Slater has the size and athleticism the Giants need up front, and whether he lines up at tackle or guard, his ability to get out and be a lead blocker down the field on counters for Saquon Barkley should have Giants fans excited about the possibilities.

In some ways, Slater may seem a bit like a safe pick here for the Giants. He isn't a flashy name and may not be an explosive wide receiver, but he very well may be a quality offensive lineman for years to come, and it's no secret the Giants have needed a piece like that for quite some time.

NFL Comp

NFL.com: Jonah Williams

Walter Football: Kelvin Beachum/Rodney Hudson

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