New York Giants: Footwork named as top quality in draft prospect Slater

Rashawn Slater, New York Giants
Dec 1, 2018; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Chase Young (2) rushes the line (2) in the first half against Northwestern Wildcats lineman Rashawn Slater (70) in the Big Ten conference championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

If the New York Giants don’t continue to add weapons to the passing offense during the draft, there’s some chance that they add to the offensive line instead. The line is one of the most obvious needs for the team right now, if not the most obvious. And Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater is a promising prospect that may be available when the Giants pick at number eleven overall.

When compared to the other offensive line prospects in this year’s class, Pro Football Focus ranked footwork as Slater’s biggest strength and had this to say about him.

Slater might have the best footwork of anyone in this class. His foot quickness and processing speed allow him to shut down any stunt or blitz thrown his way, and his overall athleticism is going to help him make those NFL-level cutoffs that teams need.

We saw how special a prospect he was from an athleticism standpoint at his pro day when he put up a 4.88-second 40-yard dash and 7.48-second three-cone. So, it should come as no surprise that Slater produced a 90.0 PFF grade and allowed just five pressures over 11 games in his final season at Northwestern in 2019.

Slater is also considered the second best option on the offensive line by that same source, which ranked his biggest weakness so far as his size and athleticism. However, PFF did predict that he’ll overcome this problem in the league and used his performance against Chase Young as a justifying example.

A fit for the New York Giants?

The Giants already drafted Andrew Thomas to play tackle last year but they might be in the market for one once again due to the decline of Nate Solder. Even if Thomas continues to develop, he can only play on one side of the field and the Giants would do better to have strong tackles on either side.

While adding Slater wouldn’t be as flashy of a selection as adding another receiver, the pick would help to shore up one of the weakest spots of the team and allow the team’s playmakers like Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley to do more thanks to better blocking.

It’s an option the Giants will have to at least consider come draft day, if they have the chance to make the move. A pick like Slater is, after all, an upgrade over stopgap moves at the tackle position.