It’s been quite the day for a pair of Northwestern prospects. Cornerback Greg Newsome ran a 4.31 40-yard dash at Tuesday’s pro day, which all but cemented Newsome as a first-round pick.
His teammate, Rashawn Slater, measured in taller than listed at 6’4” while weighing 304 pounds. Slater had 33” arms, ran a 4.88 40-yard dash, a 1.68 10-yard split, and a 3-cone time of 7.48. Slater is widely viewed as the top offensive tackle in the draft.
Slater did not lack confidence when he spoke with reporters after his pro day workout:
“I think I’m the best tackle in the draft. So I have a high level of confidence about that. But 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 at whatever position they want me at.”
Slater’s athleticism makes him a perfect fit for Kyle Shanahan’s system. Slater said he’s spoken to San Francisco and believes he’d be a good fit:
“I’m all for it. I can do it all. I feel like today I showed that, as far as athleticism. I’m all for it. I’d love to be in that kind of scheme. (It) seems like a really, really awesome organization, just the way they run things. That’s a positive for sure.”
Slater referenced the past two left tackles in San Francisco, saying that Joe Staley is similar to Slater as the two didn’t have the prototypical size of a left tackle. Still, Staley was extremely effective and a master technician. Slater called Trent Williams a freak athlete that’s also an amazing technician who does “some amazing things with his hands.”
When you pick an offensive lineman in the first round, it’s usually boring since they lack your typical skill player highlights. Slater all but shut down Chase Young of Ohio State in 2019. His 2020 game against the Buckeyes was a masterpiece as far as working to the second level.
Slater will only get better as he’s been working with Duke Manyweather, one of the country's top offensive line trainers. Slater was already a “safe” prospect who figures to be ready to play right away. Slater said, “training with Duke, he’s a master. He taught me to be more powerful. My technique has shot up.”
An obvious fit for Slater is him being a Trent Williams replacement at left tackle. As a true freshman, Slater played right tackle and was named to the all-freshman team by the Big Ten. If Slater is the best player available at No. 12, would the Niners be tempted to take him? Slater could play guard for a year, and the team could reevaluate both tackles after the 2021 season.
There are endless options for San Francisco, and many of the best ones involve taking an offensive lineman in the first round.