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2021 On Tap Sports Net NFL Mock Draft: Los Angeles Chargers – Pick #13

The Chargers address their offensive line woes to protect Justin Herbert by selecting Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater.

Rashawn Slater NFL Draft
Photo: Patrick Gorski/USA TODAY Sports

As one of the most talented teams in the top half of the NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Chargers find themselves in a good situation. With a new head coach in former Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley and potential franchise quarterback Justin Herbert, the Chargers are set to take off in 2021. Their record doesn’t do justice to how complete of a team they are, besides one glaring hole: the offensive line.

Enter Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater.

Strengths (Literally)

Not only is Slater an animal in the weight room, he’s a legitimate athlete outside of it. When he isn’t powering out 33 bench press reps at his pro day, he’s running a 4.88 40-yard dash and logging a time of 7.48 seconds in the three-cone drill.

This athleticism translates to the field as well. His ability to get to the second level and block linebackers is as good as it gets. He was a three-year starter in college, consistently grading near the top of the Power Five Conferences in run blocking, according to PFF.

Preseason All-America recognition from Phil Steele and Athlon Sports … Earned preseason First Team All-Big Ten honors (Phil Steele) … Outland Trophy watch list …  Highest-graded returning Big Ten offensive tackle according to PFF … Highest-graded run blocker among Big Ten returners (PFF) … Graded No. 2 by PFF among returning Power Five offensive tackles. 

– NUSports.com

If his combination of strength, athleticism, and run blocking doesn’t have you sold, get a load of this: Slater has played 1,312 snaps as a pass blocker. In those snaps, he has only allowed FIVE sacks. Not only is this impressive considering Slater played at both tackle positions, but he consistently went against some of the best pass rushers in the nation on a yearly basis.

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Weaknesses

There really is only one real weakness when it comes to Rashawn Slater: his recent film. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any. Slater decided to opt out of the 2020 season, which has experts concerned about whether or not he’ll be up to speed of an NFL season. Nobody can blame him for deciding to think of his health first, but it’ll probably end with him falling out of the top ten. And that’s a reality the Los Angeles Chargers will take advantage of.

Final Thoughts

While many fans won’t see Rashawn Slater as a “sexy” pick, he might be one of the safest. In a DEEP offensive tackle pool this year, Slater is considered the second-best of them. A team like the Chargers couldn’t find much consistency up front last season, which makes this the perfect pick. Slater is as consistent as they come, showing talent in every aspect of his game regardless of the competition. We’ll look back in a few years as this being an absolute steal at pick #13.


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Contributor for On Tap Sports Net and Bears On Tap. Lifelong Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks and White Sox fan who enjoys Irish Whiskey, Podcasts and long walks down Lake Shore Drive. Follow me on Twitter @ThatPodGuyDuke

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