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Preseason Scouting Notes: Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern

Senior | 6’4” 315 lbs | Sugar Land, TX

 

An experienced tackle prospect with an iron grip, strong upper body and good mobility

 

Overview:

Rashawn Slater came to Northwestern as a 3-start offensive guard prospect, but quickly proved himself as the team’s starting right tackle as a true freshman. After starting at right tackle for the first two years of his Northwestern career, Slater moved to the left side and became one of the most consistent blindside blockers in college football. He primarily utilizes 45-degree pass sets and has plenty of experience pulling and double-teaming in Northwestern’s power-heavy shotgun spread offense.

Strengths:

– Heavy hands and good timing on his initial punch
– Showcases accurate hand placement and the ability to re-fit his hands when he misses his initial target
– Very good grip strength and ability to sustain blocks one he gets a hold of the defenders’ chest plate
– Keen sense of stunts and blitzes
– Generates a vertical push as a run blocker with good leg drive and upper body strength
– Good lateral quickness and mobility shows up when asked to reach block on backside 3-techniques or make blocks in open space
– Dangerous double-teamer who gets to the second level swiftly
– Feisty finisher with a solid motor

Areas to improve:

– Inconsistent pad level. Needs to improve his ability to consistently win with proper leverage
– Will overset and give up a soft inside shoulder that quicker pass rushers can take advantage of
– Needs to work on getting depth more quickly in his pass sets. Gets beaten to the edge by speedy rushers
– Needs to bend his knees more when setting his anchor. While his anchor strength is adequate, it could be much improved with optimal knee bend
– Shows some stiffness and lack of fluidity when attempting to change direction

Injury concerns:

– (2019) Missed Nebraska game with an undisclosed injury

Projection:

Slater projects to be a plug-and-play right tackle at the next level and has the necessary power and mobility to play in any scheme. He may not be able to cut it at left tackle due to his problems with speed rushers, and he’ll have to improve his knee bend before he becomes a consistent starter. But if he does so, Slater could carve out a 10-year career as a starting right tackle. Some teams may be attracted to Slater as a potential guard convert, where his lateral mobility and brute strength can better be taken advantage of, but he’ll have to improve his leverage to be effective inside. Expect Slater to be a firm Day 2 selection.

What to watch in 2020:

Slater has put a ton of snaps on tape across his three years of starting experience, but he’ll need to show better pad level and knee bend to boost his stock. Getting more depth on his pass sets would also help quell concerns about his ability to hold up against speed rushers, which will enable him to stay at tackle at the next level. With a ton of returning offensive players and a new offensive coordinator in tow, it’ll be interesting to monitor how the Northwestern offense evolves around Slater’s steady play.