There was no secret that the Chargers needed to improve their offensive line this past offseason, and by selecting Northwestern's own Rashawn Slater 13th overall in the draft, they were banking on him to be their left tackle of the future. If Slater's Week 1 performance is any indication of the player he can become, all of Bolt nation should be smiling from ear to ear.
Tasked with going up against arguably the best defensive line in the NFL, that included last year's defensive rookie of the year, Chase Young, it was about as difficult of an opponent one could have asked for in their NFL debut. Yet, Slater crushed it. From opening kickoff until the clock hit double zeros, Slater shined and played like a ten year vet.
Hearing that Slater got the best of Young in their matchup shouldn't come as much of a surprise, especially to Wildcat fans who remember that 2019 meeting, between Northwestern and Ohio State. Slater dominated that game (and Young), and this past Sunday was much of the same.
In 49 passing blocks, Slater gave up zero sacks, zero hits, zero pressures and zero hurries allowed. Not bad for a rookie making his first start in the National Football League against the "best defensive line" the league has to offer.
This is how PFF graded Slater's performance...
Slater validated all the praise he received in training camp by coming out of the gates firing in Week 1, and caught the attention of many eyes around the league, most notably eight year offensive line veteran turned analyst Geoff Schwartz:
After the beating that rising quarterback Justin Herbert took last year, it is a positive sign that Slater and the rest of the Chargers' new pieces on their offensive line passed their first test with flying colors together. Yes, it is extremely early, but after a great training camp, and a very strong performance in Week 1, it is easy to envision Slater protecting Herbert's blindside for many, many years to come.
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Where do the Wildcats stand heading into Week Four of the season against the Ohio Bobcats, who should start at quarterback, and how can the team turn their season around?
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