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Bolts nab NU’s Rashawn Slater in Bucky Brooks’ first 2021 mock

Slater is in direct competition with Penei Sewell as OL1 in this year’s draft.

Iowa v Northwestern Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Bucky Brooks is a longtime analyst and former NFL player whose name rings in the same circles as Daniel Jeremiah, Mel Kiper, and Todd McShay when it comes to pre-draft analysis and mock drafts. After Daniel Jeremiah released his first edition of a 2021 mock last week, Brooks is now doing the same.

In his Mock Draft 1.0, Brooks has the Chargers selecting — correctly — Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater.

Late last year, Jeremiah made some waves when he began ranking Slater above Oregon’s Penei Sewell. Both Sewell and Slater opted out of the 2020 college football season knowing full well both are expected to be the top two offensive linemen taken in the entire draft and there’s nothing in the foreseeable future that looks to change that.

Slater will be talked about as a player who could potentially transition inside to guard at the next level but I highly advise everyone to stop with that line of thinking. The Bucs’ Tristan Wirfs was discussed as this type of player, but he’s now in contention for future All-Pro honors and currently helping Tampa Bay fight for a Super Bowl as their right tackle.

Slater can play tackle and play it very well. Some of his best tape came against Ohio State during the 2019 season where he and 2019 second-overall pick Chase Young duked it out all game long. He’s an excellent mover with strong mitts and the type of footwork you need to have as a blindside protector.

But I repeat, do NOT look into his height, arm length, or anything else that is loosely correlated to success as an NFL tackle. Plenty of current and former big-name tackles were under the threshold for length, including Wirfs and future Hall-of-Famer Joe Thomas.

The 6’3, 315-pound Slater will be just fine.