LA Chargers: Rashawn Slater selection better than getting Penei Sewell
By Jason Reed
The LA Chargers drafted Rashawn Slater with the 13th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. It was a shocking selection for many as it was not expected that Slater would fall to the Chargers at 13, let alone get out of the top 10.
Chargers fans can thank the Dallas Cowboys for selecting Micah Parsons over Slater with the 12th overall pick and the New York Giants for trading down with the Chicago Bears. Those were the two teams that many expected to take Slater.
The Chargers can also thank the Cincinnati Bengals for passing on Penei Sewell and drafting Ja’Marr Chase. Drafting Sewell there likely would have resulted in the Detroit Lions picking Slater at seven, which is where the team got Penei Sewell.
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While most Chargers fans were sad about Sewell not reuniting with his Oregon teammate, Justin Herbert, upon reflection, the LA Chargers are significantly better off getting Slater at 13.
Why the LA Chargers are much better off with Rashawn Slater over Penei Sewell:
I want to get this out of the way: this is by no means a knock on Penei Sewell. Sewell projects to be an elite tackle with multiple-time All-Pro ability. This is not a case of us suddenly not being big Sewell fans because he didn’t end up with the Chargers.
I am still a huge Sewell fan and will be rooting for his success from afar, except when the Chargers play the Lions and he squares off against Joey Bosa.
While Sewell is great, so is Slater. There are really respected draft analysts, like Daniel Jeremiah, who had Slater as the best offensive tackle prospect in this draft over Sewell. While I would not go that far, it was very obvious who the top two offensive linemen were in this draft and there is a fall off thereafter.
MUST-READ: Rashawn Slater profile
Slater is a bit small for a tackle compared to Sewell but he should be just fine. He also should be an anchor on that defensive line for the next decade, if all goes as planned.
If both Sewell and Slater play to their ceilings then the Chargers got someone who is 90-95% of what Sewell is. Better yet: they got that without having to trade draft capital.
That is the big win for the Chargers. Trading up for Sewell, while fun, would have been expensive. The Chicago Bears had to trade their fifth-round pick this year, as well as their first and fourth-round, picks next year to move from 20 to11.
The Chargers would have had to pay a very similar price to move up from 13 to 7 to get Sewell. Maybe they could have gotten away with sending a sixth instead of a fifth, but the price would have been just as high and would have included next year’s first.
Personally, I would have been fine with the team trading next year’s first with Sewell. However, if I could see the future and knew that Slater would be on the board at 13 then I would not have done it. Save next year’s capital and get another elite tackle, even if he is slightly less elite than Sewell.
It played out perfectly for the LA Chargers and anyone giving the team less than an A+ first-round grade is silly.