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Former NFL Scout says: Rashawn Slater is a franchise left tackle and he is the top ranked left tackle in this draft

Rashawn Slater Northwestern NFL Draft 2021
Is Northwestern offensive lineman Rashawn Slater the best offensive tackle in the NFL Draft? Former NFL scout Daniel Kelly believes so!

Scouting Report: LT Rashawn Slater 6’3” 315 (Northwestern)

Film Exposure: (2019) Ohio State, Purdue, Michigan State, Minnesota and Stanford

Polished and aggressive technician who excels in pass pro and run blocking. Has the distinct look and feel of a prospect who is going to dominate in the NFL. Showed flashes of that by absolutely handling Chase Young when Northwestern played Ohio State in 2019. Opt-out 2020. Franchise left tackle. Nice looking cut frame. Dominant. Athletic. Strong. Good effort. Wins nearly all the time and he looks good doing it. Tends to stay off the ground, but he will finish and put his man to the ground at times. Has that to him. Aggressive by nature. Cross between Jim Lachey and Raleigh McKenzie. 

In pass pro looks alert and ready pre-snap. Kicks out on the perimeter and shows good hand placement at the point of attack. Gets hands inside most of the time. Longer looking arms. Good looking reach and extension with his arms. Can lock out well. Excellent playing strength. Sinks hips well and has a strong looking back and upper body. Torque in his back. Controls with ease. Moves feet well. Cat quick feet. Graceful looking. Dances like a ballerina. Slater is very difficult to beat out on the perimeter. Elite pass pro ability on the perimeter. Walls it off nicely. Can lose control at times at the back door of the perimeter, but he will turn and run his guy past. Keeps battling. He does not give up. Iron-clad anchor. Holds up well when he is bull-rushed. Sturdy. Has girth. He does not get muscled back into the pocket. Slater reacts very quickly to any kind of blitz, stunts and games that cross his face. Has stunts down cold. He can control spin backs to the inside. However, consistently teams showed if there is a way to get him, it is with inside gap penetration (Ohio State, Stanford, Minnesota, Michigan State). His man did not get to the quarterback in these situations, but he did turn and open the gate and lost some measure of control. He  still fought in these situations, competed and won. It was just an area of vulnerability that showed up. Delayed blitz es inside also showed to be a problem. Moves around well in space on screens and effectively makes those blocks downfield.

While run blocking gets into his man. Has the pure brute power, strength, technique and athleticism to control and leverage. Effectively can turn out and hold up outside and he can power and wash down on the inside. Excels at two-man blocks when he makes one block effectively and then comes off and controls a second block at the second level as well. Excels pulling and getting to the second level to turn out. Excellent in space. Makes it look easy. Occasionally will pancake his opponent. Flashes intense aggression. Fighter who just stays with it. Good sustain. Good control. 

Slater is going to be a 10-15 year multi-time Pro Bowl player. He is what I call a “plug-in and play prospect,” who can start from day one. He excels equally in pass pro as he does in run blocking. A team can not go wrong with Slater. Big time technician who has what it takes. 

Daniel Kelly’s Draft Board: First Round (Top 10)

Probability of being a bust: Very low. About as close to a sure-thing as there is in this draft. 

If I were a GM, this is the question I need to be answered in my mind about Rashawn Slater: I would like to know what he has been doing for the past year away from the game. 

My Top concern about Slater: 

  1. His height. The average offensive tackle in the NFL is 6’6″ and he is 6’3.” 

How NFL defenses will beat him: Nobody is going to make a living beating him out on the edge. The best and only chance is testing the gap on his inside shoulder. I would test the daylights out of the inside gap. I would also send delayed blitzes into that inside gap.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK. 

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