3. Rashawn Slater, OT (Chargers)
The Denver Broncos’ offensive line saw somewhat of a jump last season. Helped by a major improvement by left tackle Garrett Bolles who earned a new contract. But they would like some stability at the opposite tackle position.
During the 2020 season, Elijah Wilkinson, Demar Dotson, and Calvin Anderson split time at right tackle in the absence of Ja’Wuan James. With the free-agent acquisition returning this season, not picking a right tackle may have been the right decision by the Broncos front office.
However, there is a major caveat to James’ return. During his first year with the team, he featured in just three games due to injury. Then before the start of the 2020 season, James chose to opt-out due to concerns over COVID-19.
We are two years into the four-year contract that he signed back in 2019 and James has shown the team close to nothing for one reason or another. With so much money tied up in James, you would not blame Paton for looking for another solution to that right tackle position.
That is where Rashawn Slater could have filled a hole. His college tape shows a player who is certainly capable of starting day one and could make a major impact when he does get a chance.
Many will remember his impressive performance against the Washington Football Team’s 2019 first-round pick, Chase Young. His time as a starter from his freshman year is also a real draw for potential teams. There is no substitute for experience, and Slater has plenty of it.
According to NFL.com, he has drawn comparisons to Jonah Wilson, and his powerful frame has allowed him to win heads-up battles along the line of scrimmage. Ja’Wuan James presents somewhat of an unknown as does Slater.
The Denver Broncos stayed at nine overall and selected Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II, making Crimson Tide players in consecutive years.
But Slater has serious upside and will be a starter in the NFL for years to come, that could have really helped solidify that right tackle position for a long time to come. That would have provided Denver with a bracketed line with Bolles on the left side and Slater on the right for years to come.