Indianapolis Colts: Rashawn Slater is a prospect worth trading up for

PISCATAWAY, NJ - OCTOBER 20: Rashawn Slater #70 of the Northwestern Wildcats (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
PISCATAWAY, NJ - OCTOBER 20: Rashawn Slater #70 of the Northwestern Wildcats (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts are likely to go after offensive linemen at some point in the 2021 NFL Draft, and they could use their No. 21 pick to find a replacement for Anthony Castonzo.

If the Colts are set on a Day 1 starter, they might be able to find their man in Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater.

Though Slater opted out of this past season and deals with concerns about his potential fit at guard in the pros, that hasn’t stopped him from largely being regarded as the consensus No. 2 offensive lineman in this class, behind only Oregon’s Penei Sewell.

Slater has shorter arms than most tackles, but he’s one of the strongest pound-for-pound linemen in this class, as his ability to both de-cleat opposing defenders and use impeccable footwork to counter more experienced pass rushers will make him a lock to go in the top half of the first round.

Slater seems like an ideal candidate to start at left tackle, right tackle, or right guard for Indianapolis, but the Los Angeles Chargers, among several other teams, have an inside track on him.

Luckily, if the Colts find the intestinal fortitude to trade up, they could be the ones who end up with the shiny prize Slater has become.

This trade could get Rashawn Slater to the Indianapolis Colts on Draft Day.

This deal would leave the Colts without a second-round pick, which is a problem for a team that likes to build through the draft (and specifically has had a ton of success in that round, but getting Slater might necessitate this move.

The Colts don’t have as many needs on the roster as some of the others in their division, and Chris Ballard should be willing to give up draft capital in order to get some studs to fill glaring voids. Why pay for a Toyota Corolla on the offensive line when you’ve saved up enough money to buy the hypothetical Mercedes in Slater?

The Chargers could take a tackle to protect Justin Herbert, but that wouldn’t help them compete right away in a crowded AFC West. Why not get Herbert another receiver or bolster the defense with a cornerback, all the while adding a tackle in the Teven Jenkins/Samuel Cosmi tier?

Sewell would be a dream come true, but getting him would be next to impossible. Indianapolis should turn their attention to Slater, who could use his raw power and bendy athletic ability to either quell opposing edge rushers at tackle or slide inside to guard to keep their running game strong.

Making the right choice could be the difference between postseason success and a surprisingly early exit.