Rashawn Slater can resurrect the Dallas Cowboys identity
By Brad Austin
With the 10th overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft, even the Dallas Cowboys understand such a lofty position demands drafting the best player available. And such a high position should net a future dominant player.
Dallas is still in desperate need of a reliable starting corner, but it’s very likely Pick No. 10 will offer a better player at a position of reasonable need. The Cowboys have such a need for a game-breaker at every position besides quarterback. Fortunately, recent trades almost guarantee at least four passers will occupy picks prior to Dallas.
BEST PLAYER AVAILABLE (BEFORE CORNER)
With a minimum of four quarterbacks projecting off the board before Pick 10, there are five better offensive players (non-QB) than any corner in this draft.
- JA’MARR CHASE (WR)
- KYLE PITTS (TE/HYBRID)
- PENEI SEWELL (OT)
- RASHAWN SLATER (OG/OT)
- JALEN WADDLE (WR)
Assuming picks 1-9 include four passers and these five offensive players, the correct pick for Dallas would be the best corner on their board. Most assume Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II is said corner, although my personal preference is South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn.
All that has to happen for one of the above to slide to Dallas is for an extra quarterback to come off the board. One single defensive player is taken above 10. Or even one team viewing Alabama’s DeVonta Smith as the second-best receiver.
If Chase, Pitts, or Sewell fall to Pick 10, which is highly unlikely, Dallas should select any of those generational talents over a cornerback. Waddle falling is not as far-fetched, but any corner rated above him on a best player stack is.
The player of interest with the best chance to fall to Dallas is Rashawn Slater. And those thinking Dallas will shun him for a corner may get a rude awakening.
SLATER RESURRECTS DALLAS COWBOYS IDENTITY
The Cowboys spent years and much premium draft currency building their calling card offense. Bullying offensive line play used to grind down opponents with smash mouth, balanced offense was the ticket. All the while keeping the defense fresh.
Not to mention they are proof a team with that calling card can threaten in the playoffs (2014, 2016) even with a bendable defense. Adding Slater to the offense immediately rejuvenates the power ball offensive identity.
If both tackles return healthy, Slater (6-4, 315) adds a mobile, power player at left guard. Something this team has sorely missed since the Connor Williams experiment, which just so happens to end with an expired contract in 2022.
Slater would forcefully upgrade left guard until it’s time for him to assume the first available starting tackle spot. And as recent history suggests, that insurance would likely come in handy in 2021.
His presence immediately makes running back Ezekiel Elliott more productive, gives quarterback Dak Prescott a cleaner pocket, and reduces the cost of veteran tackles missing games. In essence, Slater resurrects and protects the Cowboys’ most prized possession … a dominant offense.
If it comes down to Rashawn Slater versus Patrick Surtain II in the first round, my money is firmly on Slater winning that bout. With several valuable picks at their disposal, the Dallas Cowboys could easily trade up to grab another worthy starting corner. There are plenty in this draft class.