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Rashawn Slater Drafted by Chargers: LA's Updated Depth Chart After Round 1

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2021

Northwestern offensive lineman Rashawn Slater, participates in the school's Pro Day football workout for NFL scouts Tuesday, March 9, 2021, in Evanston, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Chargers addressed their offensive line Thursday when they selected Northwestern's Rashawn Slater with the No. 13 overall pick of the 2021 NFL draft. 

This is how he fits into his new team's depth chart:

     

QB: Justin Herbert, Chase Daniel, Easton Stick

RB: Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelly, Darius Bradwell

FB: Gabe Nabers

LWR: Keenan Allen, Jalen Guyton, KJ Hill, John Hurst

RWR: Mike Williams, Tyron Johnson, Joe Reed, Jason Moore

TE: Jared Cook, Stephen Anderson, Donald Parham, Matt Sokol

LT: Rashawn Slater, Trey Pipkins

LG: Oday Aboushi, Tyree St. Louis

C: Corey Linsley, Scott Quessenberry

RG: Matt Feiler, Nathan Gilliam

RT: Bryan Bulaga, Storm Norton, Ryan Hunter

    

Slater didn't always seem destined for the NFL. He arrived at Northwestern as a 3-star prospect and the No. 653 ranked player in the 2017 recruiting class, per 247Sports' composite rankings. However, he immediately earned a starting job at right tackle as a freshman.

From there, he helped lead Northwestern to the Big Ten Championship Game in 2018 as a third-team all-conference selection and was still effective in 2019 after he switched positions to left tackle.

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Whether it was blocking Chase Young or opening up lanes for the rushing attack, the versatile Slater turned enough heads at the NFL level that he was still a highly regarded prospect even though he opted out of the 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

While there is some concern about his arm length, Lance Zierlein of NFL.com pointed out "his combination of strength, athletic ability and quick processing should make him one of the safer offensive line picks in this draft and an early starter."

Bleacher Report's Scouting Department ranked Slater as the 15th-best player in the entire draft and the best zone-blocker and most versatile option among offensive tackles. 

His 8.4 grade was also on the high end of the Immediate NFL Starter category.

"I think I'm the best tackle in the draft," Slater said in March, per Darin Gantt of Panthers.com. "So I have a really high level of confidence in that … At the same time, I'm a team player, so if a team wants to play me at guard, so be it, I'm all for it, as long as that's what's best for the team, I'm happy to play whatever position they need me at."

If he lives up to his own expectations as the best tackle in the draft, Slater could be a foundational piece for the Chargers for the next decade.

They certainly hope that's the case after finishing 32nd in the league in Pro Football Focus' offensive line rankings last year. Los Angeles needs to protect Justin Herbert for the foreseeable future, and Slater should help it do just that.

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