Finding Broncos: Scouting Northwestern OL Rashawn Slater

Finding Broncos scouts the 2021 NFL draft class to find the best Mile High fits. What's the scoop on Rashawn Slater and how would he fit in Denver?
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Welcome to Finding Broncos, our annual prospect-by-prospect series deep-diving on the coming NFL draft class. The scouting continues with Northwestern offensive lineman Rashawn Slater, viewed by some as a top tackle prospect in the class — but would he make sense for the Denver Broncos? 

Measurables

  • Height: 6-foot-4
  • Weight: 315 pounds

Pro Day Results

  • Arms: 33 inches
  • Hands: 10.5 inches
  • 40 Time: 4.91 seconds
  • Vertical Jump: 33 inches
  • Broad Jump: 9-feet-4 inches
  • 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.45 seconds
  • 3-Cone Drill: 7.48 seconds
  • Bench Press (225 lbs): 33 reps

Pros

  • Elite versatility to play any scheme and any position on the offensive line
  • Sustains blocks extremely well when driving forward or moving laterally
  • Shined versus Ohio State in 2019 where he shut down future top-2 draft pick Chase Young
  • A quick mover that gets to his pass sets with speed and works his kick-slide with tempo
  • Plays with an edge and wants to put defenders on the ground
  • Good balance and doesn’t get shoulder-over-toes
  • Doesn’t take plays off even when he is working the backside
  • Disciplined with his technique and has a really good foundation to build on
  • Very high football IQ with how he sees late blitzers, stunts, and even neutralizing pass rushers' plan
  • While he lacks long arms, he makes up for it with good chest width with plenty of tricks
  • Surprisingly strong anchor to stall bull-rushers
  • Outside of the inconsistency with his length, most of his negatives are being nit-picky.

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Cons

  • Could do better when handling speed to power
  • Concerns about his lack of ideal NFL tackle length and getting defenders off his chest
  • Punch placement can be more consistent but it isn’t terrible
  • Not a mauler by any means in the run game, but still can generate push

Overview

There is a reason that some draftniks have Slater as their No. 1 offensive tackle. He does a lot of the little things extremely well and doesn’t have a lot of glaring weaknesses to his game. 

Slater's most glaring weakness is dealing with longer edge rushers at times, but there are enough tricks up his sleeve to get those issues corrected. Having the positional versatility that he has, you can start him outside and if he struggles, move him around until you find where he works best.

Fit with Broncos

While Slater may be a more natural fit for an outside-zone scheme, he can work with the inside-zone scheme the Broncos currently run. He wouldn’t be asked to work at left tackle with Garett Bolles being entrenched but would be viewed as the future right tackle bookend. 

There would be a lot to like about this pick because even if Slater didn't go on to start day-one at right tackle, he could backup multiple spots and still be working with Mike Munchak to develop. Slater wouldn’t be a sexy pick for the Broncos, but he could end up a good decision if that was the route taken.

Grade: Round 1

Where he Goes: Round 1


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