Pick by Shelby Manning
While the Detroit Lions have a long way to go to rebuilding their franchise, they have the opportunity to put a dent in their long list of needs in the 2021 NFL draft, and they have a good opportunity to get Jared Goff some protection in Rashawn Slater.
Although opting out of the 2020 season, Slater had an impressive campaign in his time at Northwestern. Slater also has experience lining up against upcoming superstar Chase Young and did well in his repetitions there.
A fluid blocker with experience at both tackle positions, Slater will bring versatility to an offensive line that may require some moving and shifting around as their roster adjusts to a new QB in Goff. Other strengths of Slater’s are his upper-body strength, his read/adjustment ability, confidence in claiming his turf, and his experience; he has started since his freshman year.
One of Slater’s most notable weaknesses is an occasional misplacement of hands. However, this should be something offensive line coach Hank Fraley can rectify, and if Slater can turn his few weaknesses into strengths, he has the opportunity to become a star on the Detroit Lions’ offensive line.
The Lions will need to hit a homerun on more than just one player in this year’s draft to start trending in the right direction, but selecting Rashawn Slater would be a good start.