The Dallas Cowboys have a lot of work to do this fall to retool their team with the hopes of making a run in 2021. Talk about the NFL Draft much, and most of the focus in the first round is fixated on the defense. Rightfully so, the Cowboys have a lot of holes to fill on a defense that wasn’t very good last season. But depending on how the draft falls in April, the Cowboys’ best option could be to take Northwestern Offensive Lineman Rashawn Slater with their first pick this year.
Now, you might be asking yourself, “with the Cowboys’ talent on the offensive line and the needs on defense, why in the world would the Cowboys consider taking an offensive lineman in the first round?”
Well, I’m so very glad you did.
The Cowboys do have a tremendous amount of talent on the offensive line if everyone is healthy in 2021. Looking at a projected starting group of Tyron Smith, Connor Williams (or Connor McGovern), Tyler Biadasz, Zack Martin, and La’el Collins and you have a pretty solid group at every spot. However, if you consider the injuries suffered by several members of the offensive line in 2020 (Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, Tyler Biadasz, and La’el Collins), the Cowboys would be wise to reinvest in the position.
Tyron Smith’s injury history becomes more and more troubling every year. He missed at least three starts a season from 2016 to 2019 and then missed all but two games in 2020.
Rashawn Slater, who has the ability to play both guard and tackle, could slide into the left guard spot in year one if Smith and Collins are healthy. If for some reason, one of their starting tackles is forced to miss time or if Smith retires this offseason, then you have a guy who can step in and play left tackle as well.
Former NFL Scout and NFL Network Analyst Daniel Jeremiah believes Slater to be the best offensive line prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. That includes likely top-five pick, Penei Sewell.
Rashawn Slater’s work against Chase Young in 2019 is enough to consider the guy in the top 10 of the NFL Draft. With the Cowboys’ long-term uncertainty along the offensive line, the Cowboys would be wise to consider having that sorted out before Tyron Smith is ready to call it quits. If Smith gets some injury, good luck over the next few years, Slater fits in at the left guard as Connor Willams enters the final year of his contract.