Rashawn Slater grew up the son of NBA player Reggie Slater who played eight seasons across stints with the Nuggets, Raptors, and host of other franchises. He hails from Sugar Land, Texas and starred on both sides of the trenches for Clements High School. After a career that landed him a three-star prospect, Slater took his talents to Northwestern where he immediately earned a starting job for the Wildcats.
As one of 13 true freshman to see the field in 2017, Slater started all 12 games at right tackle. He was graded as the best freshman offensive lineman in the country by Pro Football Focus and was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman squad.
Slater was once again a steady presence at right tackle in 2018 where he started 14 games en route to earning Third-Team All-Big Ten honors. In what ended up being his final year at Northwestern, Slater switched to the blindside and started 11 games. He was named an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten pick and later deemed to be one of the best returning offensive tackles in the country for the 2020 season.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began to snowball in the spring of 2020, Slater made the decision to sit out the abbreviated Big Ten season to focus on training for the NFL draft. He spent his time with offensive line guru Duke Manyweather in Dallas where he still currently trains today in the offseason. Despite not playing a down in well over a calendar year, Slater went 13th-overall in the 2020 draft to the Chargers as Brandon Staley’s first draft pick as head coach.
Just like at Northwestern, Slater immediately stepped in as the team’s starting left tackle. He started 16 games, missing one due to injury, and played his way into his first Pro Bowl nod and a Second-Team All-Pro selection.
With expectations now sky-high for the second-year lineman, Slater started the team’s first three games of the 2022 season before succumbing to a torn biceps that cost him the rest of the year.
Years with team: 2
“Rashawn Slater signed a 4 year, $16,631,757 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including a $9,455,824 signing bonus, $16,631,757 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $4,157,939. In 2023, Slater will earn a base salary of $2,171,978, while carrying a cap hit of $4,535,934 and a dead cap value of $9,827,857.” - Spotrac.com
Slater is one of the most-technically sound players at the position. When paired with some elite athleticism as well, that makes for one heck of a task for opposing defensive linemen. He’s as steady as they come and you don’t just earn an All-Pro nod out of nowhere as a rookie. Slater is dominant in both the pass and run games despite having so-called physical shortcomings such as arm length. He gets the job done day-in and day-out and the Chargers would be wise to keep him connected to Justin Herbert for as long as possible.
Rashawn Slater stymieing Myles Garrett’s inside spin move. pic.twitter.com/wBBPbH227b— Gavino Borquez (@GavinoBorquez) October 10, 2021
There truly isn’t much to rag on when it comes to Slater’s game but it’s tough not to mention the recent injury. Thankfully it wasn’t a lower-body injury which usually has a higher chance of affecting his career long-term compared to upper-body. He’s not perfect, and as a young player in this league, he’s still got plenty of years ahead of him to become one of the best to ever do it.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2023?
Slater makes the Chargers’ roster as their starting left tackle. The duo of him and Zion Johnson on the left side should be the strong point for the Chargers up front and hopefully that means the run game can flourish when utilized behind them.
If Slater returns to form after the injury, there’s no reason to believe he can’t push for another All-Pro honor in 2023.