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Two new mock drafts predict the Panthers will take Rashawn Slater

Carolina’s anticipated pick becoming more unanimous as we get closer to the draft,

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Ohio State v Northwestern Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers would take Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater in the upcoming NFL draft if it were up to both NFL.com’s Charles Davis and CBS Sports’ Tyler Sullivan.

Both mock drafters submitted their latest predictions within the past two days, and both say Carolina will upgrade its offensive line.

Cat Scratch Reader is also high on Slater, having selected the lineman in SB Nation’s 2021 NFL writers mock draft. You can check out Bradley Smith’s case for Slater here.

NFL.com’s Charles Davis says Slater is the man

Michigan State v Northwestern Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Slater is a 6-foot-4, 304-pound senior out of Sugar Land, Texas. He opted out of the 2020 season, but started 11 games at left tackle in 2019, and all 14 games at right tackle in 2018.

According to Davis, “you might hear chatter about Carolina taking a QB here even after the Sam Darnold acquisition, but I foresee the Panthers fortifying their offensive line with this pick.”

He didn’t say much about his pick, but he’s definitely not alone in his thinking.

With tackles Taylor Moton and Trent Scott currently on one-year deals, the Panthers would looks toward the future with the selection of Slater. They need to find an affordable long-term option that will grow into a starting role once one of Moton or Scott skips town. In fact, Smith says the biggest need Carolina currently has is a long-term answer at left tackle (something they have needed since Jordan Gross retired in 2014).

And there’s another variable: the Panthers are taking a gamble on Sam Darnold and must surround him with adequate protection, or not he’s worth keeping around beyond the final year of his rookie contract.

CBS Sports’ Tyler Sullivan is all Team Slater too

CBS Sports’ Sullivan says it’ll be a draft with a few fireworks as the Patriots would move up to take quarterback Trey Lance.

Meanwhile in Carolina, the Panthers would add Slater to fortify their offensive line.

Here’s what Sullivan said of the pick:

The Panthers solidified the quarterback position after acquiring Sam Darnold in a deal with the Jets, which frees them up to go elsewhere at this spot. Now, they elect to bring in a stud tackle in Slater to protect Darnold going forward.

As Smith wrote on Cat Scratch Reader last week, the Panthers got their guy at quarterback. Now they must use their resources to build a team around him and unlock his potential. That starts with giving him an offensive line to keep him protected.

Here’s what Lance Zierlein says about Slater in his draft bio:

His compact frame carries play strength that can be filed in the “grown man” category, as evidenced by his heads-up battles against 2020 No. 2 overall pick Chase Young in 2019. Slater operates with confidence and efficient movement that sees him in position to get his job done on most snaps. His lack of length will lead some teams to view him as a guard, but the footwork and talent outside might be worth allowing him to prove it at tackle first. His combination of strength, athletic ability and quick processing should make him one of the safer offensive line picks in this draft and an early starter.

“He’s going to be a good starter for a lot of years. Smart kid and very reliable,” one scouting director for AFC team told Zierlein.

What about you, Panthers fans? If the Panthers were to take Slater, would you call it the best possible decision for the franchise at this time?

Poll

Is taking Slater the best possible move for Carolina?

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    Yes
    (660 votes)
  • 29%
    No
    (274 votes)
934 votes total Vote Now