Rashawn Slater brings a lot to the table and it has been well documented. Slater was considered one of the top two rated tackles in the draft. This is the case, despite this draft being loaded with quality offensive linemen. Let’s take a look at what the consensus seems to be on the Charger’s new left tackle.
Slater was a senior in 2019 and opted out for the College season that was covered through the pandemic. This is probably one of the biggest issues for him, we haven’t seen any game film in a year. He is 6’4 and 305 pounds, and this man is a freak of an athlete. Slater is fast and strong all at the same time. Additionally, he’s got an IQ that matches his athleticism which continues to show on the field as he is rarely penalized. His feet have been described as “type-writer” over and over again, and I’d suggest when you watch him you realize what that means. His footwork is clean, and he’s constantly keeping balance on the front of his toes and moving.
What was most impressive to me after watching his film was how often Northwestern moved him around. His versatility is unmatched and something the Chargers will welcome. Additionally, I watched him easily take over the game at both tackles, center, and both guard positions in multiple games. This is going to be a massive boost to the Chargers, as they have a tendency to not stay healthy through the season.
His best game of course came against Ohio State in 2019 where he effectively nullified Chase Young. Young went on to dominate the NFL last season as a rookie.
Interestingly, even when Slater makes mistakes, they are so small and limited you don’t often even see it making a difference to the quarterback or half-backs. He showed the ability to provide great run blocking in either zone or gap schemes but seemed to especially excel in zone which the Chargers figure to run heavily this season.
Of course, no prospect is perfect, and there are a few common criticisms that seem to be staying with Slater. A lot of insiders and experts suggest that he would be a good tackle, or he’d be a great guard. While that line may be a little cliche, I kind of tend to agree with it. He’s so athletic that when he’s at guard, he is able to pull so fast that he gets to the second level making big holes for his running game. With that said, he only really started to shine as a prospect when he was moved to tackle in 2019.
A lot has been made of his arms being shorter, measuring at 33 inches, as a reason why he should transition to the inside. When you watch his film you can tell that because he does have shorter arms he’s easily able to get bull-rushed off his initial stance. That causes his back feet to lose balance, and he gives up a lot of power that way.
Nonetheless, these knocks on Slater are minor at best, and there was a reason he was one of the highest touted prospects in the draft. The Bengals skip on Sewell, and all of a sudden a huge opportunity opens up. I’m going to give this draft pick a B+. This was who I thought was the right pick for the Chargers, giving Herbert someone to protect him for years. The only reason I’m not ready to give this a full A at this point is because I want to see what position he’s most effective at in the pros. There’s little doubt that this young man is going to be a rock in the lineup for a lot of years to come.