WIth the 2021 NFL Draft quickly approaching, the predictions for the Dallas Cowboys‘ first-round selections are ramping up. While the Cowboys’ biggest area of need is clearly defensive, the most talented players available when Dallas selects 10th overall later this month might just play on the offensive side of the ball.
The Cowboys threw the entire league a curveball in last year’s draft, nabbing Oklahoma stud wide receiver CeeDee Lamb with their first-round selection. That was despite having much bigger defensive team needs and the presence of both Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup already on the wideout depth chart.
And while the current draft speculation has the Cowboys focused on the cornerback position as likely first-round targets, an offensive lineman could be the most talented player on the board when their number is called.
Though it seems unlikely that the top-rated offensive line prospect, Oregon tackle Penei Sewell, will still be available when the Cowboys are on the clock in the first round, Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater absolutely could be. But should Dallas seriously consider taking yet another offensive lineman with their top draft pick?
Here’s what 105.3 The Fan’s Bryan Broaddus (formerly of DallasCowboys.com) shared on Twitter about one unanimous scout’s take on Slater’s potential that should excite fans of America’s Team.
“I had a scout tell me he thought Slater might be the next Zack Martin. Give that some thought.”
The Cowboys have famously used three first-round selections over the last decade to beef up their offensive line. Those foundational pieces being left tackle Tyron Smith in 2011, center Travis Frederick in 2013, and guard Zack Martin in 2014. Many tend to lump in right tackle La’el Collins into that group as well as he would have likely been a first-round selection in 2015.
While Frederick surprisingly retired last offseason, the trio of Smith, Martin, and Collins are expected to start again this year after all three were plagued by injuries in 2020. And this aging unit is one of the reasons an offensive lineman could once again be the top draft selection in Dallas later this month.
The 6-foot-4, 315-pound Slater played left tackle at Northwestern but has the position flex to play anywhere across the offensive line. That kind of versatility is a trait the Cowboys certainly covet.
Kyle Crabbs of the Draft Network believes Slater has the potential to become a perennial Pro Bowler and potential All-Pro player the further into the heart of the line he transitions. But The Athletic’s Dane Brugler believes Slater could absolutely thrive as a left tackle on the NFL level.
One big reason the Cowboys may zero in on Slater is the fact he played so well against defensive end Chase Young when he was at Ohio State. Young is now with the Washington Football Team after they selected him second overall in the 2020 draft. Talk about an NFC East clash for the next decade.
If the Dallas Cowboys believe Rashawn Slater has a chance to be the next Zack Martin, they should jump at the chance to draft him. Martin is a six-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro who was named the NFL’s 2010s All-Decade team. Zack’s likely to go down as one of the best players in franchise history and a near shoo-in for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.