Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater could be on Chargers’ draft radar at No. 13

Northwestern offensive lineman Rashawn Slater participates in the school's Pro Day football workout.
Offensive lineman Rashawn Slater participates in Northwestern’s pro day workout in front of NFL scouts on Tuesday.
(Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press)

Reggie Slater went undrafted before persevering to put together an NBA career that lasted eight seasons with seven teams.

Of his 259 games, Slater started only 44 of them.

His son’s arrival in the NFL is expected to be just slightly more heralded.

Entering the draft in April, Rashawn Slater is one of the top offensive line prospects and a popular projection to go at No. 13 overall to the Chargers.

“It comes down to two things: good genes and just hard work,” Slater said Tuesday via videoconference, after Northwestern’s pro day. “I inherited a lot of athleticism from my dad, I think, and I’ve just put in the work.”


Offensive line is the Chargers’ top need as the NFL offseason begins to churn and the franchise looks to improve on a 7-9 finish behind new head coach, Brandon Staley.

Chargers tight end Hunter Henry is set to become an unrestricted free agent next week after the team chose not to use its franchise tag on him.

March 9, 2021

Three of the Chargers starters from 2020 — center Dan Feeney, left guard Forrest Lamp and left tackle Sam Tevi — are set to become free agents next week.

Right guard Trai Turner remains a candidate to be cut for salary cap reasons and right tackle Bryan Bulaga is looking to rebound after injuries limited him to 10 starts.

Slater, who is 6-foot-4, 304 pounds, promises athletic ability, work ethic and versatility. He ran a 4.88-second 40-yard dash Tuesday.

Coming out of high school near Houston, he was recruited to play guard but ended up at tackle for the Wildcats. Slater started for two seasons on the right side before shifting to left tackle for his junior year.

“I think I’m the best tackle in the draft,” he said. “So I have a really high level of confidence about that. But I’m a team player. If someone wants to play me at guard, I’m all for it as long as it’s best for the team.”


Slater gave up zero sacks, one quarterback hit and four hurries during his 355 pass-blocking and 787 total snaps in 2019, according to Pro Football Focus.

One of his most notable performances came against Ohio State defensive end Chase Young. In a game Northwestern would lose 52-3, Young finished with two tackles and one sack.

As an NFL rookie, Young won the league’s defensive rookie of the year award for 2020 after being drafted No. 2 overall by Washington.

Slater opted out this past season because of the COVID-19 pandemic and spent the time, he said, focusing on his technique and improving his body.

He definitely has the DNA, thanks to a basketball-playing father who also competed extensively overseas.


“My dad, he’s amazing,” Slater said. “Throughout my life, he’s always been that athletic influence. … He was definitely a grinder. He taught me everything I know about work ethic and about battling through adversity.”