The Detroit Lions have plenty of needs to ponder in the 2021 NFL Draft, and one that might not be high on the list to many is offensive line.
Detroit has made upgrades to their offensive front in recent years and it seems to have paid off given the fact that the team suddenly has the makings of a much-improved offensive front. Even though that’s the case, there could be some more additions in the years ahead to help fortify the line and make it one of the best in the entire NFL for the future.
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Leading into mock draft season and down the stretch toward the draft, many have come around to the idea that the Lions might have no choice but to make another well-placed addition up front to help things out. Recently, some mocks have highlighted that possibility.
On Good Morning Football, a rapid fire mock draft was hosted, and when the Lions pick came up, the moved was a similar one for Peter Schrager. With a few quarterbacks like Trey Lance and Mac Jones as well as other wideout playmakers on the board, Schrager elected to go safe and nab another offensive lineman for the Detroit cause in the form of Rashawn Slater.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) April 12, 2021
“The quarterback is still on the board, Trey Lance. If I’m the Lions, do I want to take Trey Lance? Seventh overall, do I want to take Mac Jones? I am going to go with a boring pick but the right pick. Rashawn Slater, offensive tackle, Northwestern.”
Slater hasn’t been a name connected to the Lions much in this period, but he is surging up draft boards and is in competition to be the first lineman picked along with Penei Sewell of Oregon. Either could give the Lions a boost in the trenches at the spot of tackle, and form a powerful duo with Taylor Decker up front.
In recent weeks, Sewell has been a popular name for Detroit, but Slater less so. It would be interesting to see if the Lions would consider him as much as they would Sewell like Schrager seems to hint in this mock draft.
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Slater’s Stats and Highlights
Perhaps a bit of an unknown by some folks, Slater represents an intriguing player for the Lions in terms of the draft. At Northwestern, he was third-team All-Big Ten during the 2018 season, and also played for the team in a trio of elite bowl games. He allowed no sacks in 11 starts as a junior in college, and while he took his senior year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic to prepare for the draft, it’s done nothing to hurt his stock at this point in time.
A look at Slater’s tape in a highly-anticipated matchup with former Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young shows a player more than capable of holding his own against one of the best young defenders in the league last year.
For a team like Detroit, this could make Slater an interesting pick given the changes at quarterback that have come both now and could come in the future.
Offensive Line Could be Need for Lions
Even though the Lions have Taylor Decker, Jonah Jackson and Frank Ragnow in the fold as well as quality young depth pieces like Tyrell Crosby, the team could need one more elite piece to perhaps cement their transformation toward one of the best groups in the NFL. While wideout and defense are big needs for the Lions, the team could simply stay put and take an elite talent like Slater or Sewell in order to help out their offensive line for the near future.
It’s clear Slater or Sewell are the types of players who could move the needle for the Lions in terms of getting a tough lineman up front. Whether the draft plays out like this or not is anybody’s guess, but it at least one instance, Slater has now been mocked to Detroit.
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