On Monday morning, Good Morning Football’s Peter Schrager and Kyle Brandt did their best “Queen’s Gambit” impression, and faced off in what they called a Rapid-Fire Mock. The idea: alternate picks for a mock draft, but instead of getting the 15 minutes a team would normally get to deliberate the pick, they were given just 15 seconds.
It’s a fun exercise that makes for entertaining television, but it’s also created what I believed a fascinating scenario for the Detroit Lions and what some may consider to be an odd selection.
Here’s how the first six picks played out:
Note: If you care, Schrager had the odd-numbered picks, Brandt had the even picks
- Jaguars: QB Trevor Lawrence
- Jets: QB Justin Fields
- 49ers: QB Zach Wilson
- Falcons: TE Kyle Pitts
- Bengals: OT Penei Sewell
- Dolphins: WR Ja’Marr Chase
It’s not an ideal scenario for the Lions. Only three quarterbacks have come off the board, meaning two of the top receivers in this year’s draft class are off the board, as is the man who many consider to be the top offensive tackle.
But the Lions still have plenty of intriguing options. Quarterback Trey Lance is available, and the Lions just so happen to have a situation where Lance could develop for a year or two before hastily being thrown into the lineup. There are also two really good Alabama receivers still on the board in Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith.
Schrager, however, goes in a different direction. Instead, he gives the Lions their right tackle of the future by selecting Northwestern offensive lineman Rashawn Slater at seven.
“A boring pick, but the right pick,” Scharger said.
This is a scenario our Locker Room panel discussed on this week’s podcast episode, but I imagine many Lions fans will react poorly to this selection, either calling it a reach or a clear ignorance of the Lions’ drastic need at wide receiver. However, I believe this pick has plenty of merit to it.
First, let’s start with Slater himself. Most have him as the second-best tackle in the draft, and a few even have him ranked about Sewell. Look at any expert’s big board, and you will rarely see Slater out of the top 12. In other words, the value is there.
Slater is an athletically-gifted tackle who matches his speed and agility with technically sound play. At Northwestern, he was dominant in his first two seasons as the team’s right tackle, and looked like a natural when he moved over to left tackle in 2019—allowing zero sacks and just four hurries all season. His size—he’s just 6-foot-4 and his arm length of 33 inches is below average—will have some questioning if he should move inside to guard, and while I don’t agree, the Lions are in a situation in which that would be fine, too, as Halapoulivaati Vaitai could slide inside or out.
Rashawn Slater is a OT prospect in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 9.71 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 34 out of 1134 OT from 1987 to 2021. https://t.co/6lDu9ZaIuU #RAS via @Mathbomb pic.twitter.com/JoYWbrbh8t— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 5, 2021
But there is a question of value here. Is it worth it to take a right tackle over a wide receiver—for the Lions or really any other team. It’s a valid question to ask, but I would point to this fantastic article from The Athletic Robert Mays which points out that offensive tackles are much harder to find in free agency, more likely to hit when drafted early, and their production cannot be replaced by a slew of players. Throw in the fact that this draft class is particularly deep at wide receiver, and picking Slater suddenly makes a lot more sense to it.
Who would you take in this scenario?
This poll is closed
QB Trey Lance
QB Mac Jones
WR Jaylen Waddle
WR DeVonta Smith
OT Rashawn Slater
LB Micah Parsons
CB Patrick Surtain II