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2021 NFL Draft: Rashawn Slater Makes a lot of Sense for the Dallas Cowboys

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.

What do you think?


Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.


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  1. Rebuid the Offensive Line should be priority!!! Throw in Defense pieces! When it makes sense!!! You have free agency where you can pieces to the Defense!!! Rebuilding the Offensive Line should be top priority!!

  2. Yes for Slater first round. Now tell me where you are going to get the “war daddy” DT. If you can’t stop the run you cant win the game, Football is won in the trenches, Name names please for a second round DT which fits the above description or a free agent who fits it as well.
    p.s. Seems everyone wants cb’s.

  3. I don’t agree at all!! We only have one starting caliber corner left going into next year and he’s not even a shut down corner, he still gets beat a lot!! And we only have one starting strong safety going into next year!! So we need a corner and safety more than anything!! We need to draft Patrick Surtain or Caleb Farley in the 1st round and then pick Trevon Moehrig in the 2nd round if he’s still available…. If not then we can draft DT Cristian Barmore in the 2nd round and draft Andrea Cisco or Javon Holland in the 3rd round and then pick an OT with the other 3rd round pick!! This draft is gonna be filled with offensive linemen and it’s almost guaranteed that we will get one with the 2nd 3rd round pick that’s able to start for us when needed!! But this draft is NOT filled with great corners, safeties or DTs, so we need to get the best one’s possible and passing on Patrick Surtain or Caleb Farley in the 1st round would be a big mistake!! And passing on them for a offensive linemen with short arms that’s gonna play strictly OG in the NFL would be an even bigger mistake!! And if those 2 top rated corners are gone by the time we’re on the clock I’d either trade down a few spots or just stay at 10 and draft jaycee Horn before I drafted another offensive linemen!! Our offense wasn’t even that bad this season even after our star players got injured, but our defense was terrible all year, so thinking about drafting anything but defense with our first 3 or 4 picks in this draft is just pure insanity!!

    • I totally get where you’re coming from and it’s not insanity. There’s a chance the corners you’re talking about won’t be there and that Horn won’t be worth 10 and they can’t trade back.

      So you’d rather overdraft a corner than take possibly the best offensive lineman in the draft?

  4. I think it is a numbers game at this point and the chances of both Surtain AND Farley being gone in the first 9 picks are slim though not impossible. Though few things are certain when it comes to the draft, we can be pretty certain that in this year’s draft in the first 9 picks there will be 3 QB’s taken, 2 WR’s, Sewell, Parsons. That’s seven players. So both cornerbacks would have to be taken with the other 2 picks, To me that seems unlikely when you throw in Pitts, Paye, Slater and likely someone who jumps a couple of spots at the combine or a dumb reach move by some team. I think one of Surtain or Farley will be there and should be the pick. If both CB’s are gone, however, it probably means Slater is available, in which case I would be fine with that pick. We will need an O-lineman in our first 4 picks, and the CB drop off after Surtain and Farley is notable.

  5. Drew- good post and I agree with most everything u said. I agree that either Surtain or Farley should be available at #10. It’s not like they are can’t miss prospects They are simply the best available at a premium position.

    But with that said I would be surprised if they took an Olineman with that pick. They have too many defensive holes to fill. If they miss out on the top two CBs I think either they trade down, go ahead and pick Horn or take the best pass rusher available. Personally I’m hoping Parsons somehow falls to them, though l doubt it.

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