The latest pro days are getting underway on the 2021 NFL pre-draft calendar at three separates sites on Tuesday. For the K.C. Chiefs, it’ll be the ones taking place farthest from home that should interest them the most.
NFL hopefuls at Kansas State, Northwestern, and Wisconsin-Whitewater will all get underway soon enough, and the Chiefs have been linked to prospects at both of the latter schools at or near the top of recent mock drafts. Given the needs of the Chiefs, players from both Northwestern and UW-W make sense for the Chiefs, while unfortunately, K-State doesn’t have a lot to offer at the pro level this year, at least in terms of prospects expected to be taken higher in the draft. Of course, hidden gems are always waiting to be found, so we’ll get to one there, too.
Here’s a look at the players suiting up for pro days on Tuesday and who the Chiefs are likely watching.
Rashawn Slater, OT, Northwestern
The only question here about Rashawn Slater is whether or not the Chiefs will ever be within view of taking him.
Slater is one of the more heralded offensive line prospects coming into the 2021 NFL Draft, and given the run on offensive tackles last season, it’s hard to imagine that Slater falls far enough for the Chiefs to take him—or even moving up enough to get him. However, a team should always do their homework and the Chiefs would be smart to make sure they know what they are getting (or missing) in the case of Slater.
Some analysts might want to slide Slater inside to guard, which could also work for the Chiefs in the instance that both Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz return in 2021. However, Slater will be just fine outside after showing what he can do in 2019. Slater is a very athletic tackle who held his own against the likes of Chase Young in the Big Ten and allowed only five pressures during his last season. It’s been a while since he’s played given that he opted out this season, but no one should doubt his ability to protect the passer at the pro level.
Given the needs at offensive tackle in the present and the future, the Chiefs are expected to make some move at the position in this year’s draft, and it makes sense to do so sooner than later. Fisher is 30 and Schwartz is older than that. Both are coming off serious injuries in which rehab/surgery is required, and the cupboard is bare behind them in terms of proven experience. While a draft pick wouldn’t be a proven product, a high-level investment in someone like Slater could pair with last year’s third round pick, Lucas Niang, to give them their bookends for the next half-decade or more.