With the 173rd pick of the 2021 NFL Draft the Green Bay Packers select . . .
Tedarrell Slaton, Florida, Defensive Tackle
Slaton was a U.S. Army All-American after his senior year at American Heritage High School, where he played for former Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Surtain. He played in all 11 games for the Gators as a true freshman (11 tackles, 1.5 for loss) and then started two of 10 appearances in 2018 (21 tackles, one for loss). Slaton began using his massive frame to make more plays his junior season, posting 29 stops, four for loss, with two sacks in 12 contests as a top reserve. He was a big part of the Gators’ defense in 2020, starting all 12 games in the middle (37 tackles, 3.5 for loss, with 1.5 sacks). — by Chad Reuter from NFL.com
“Massive man with evenly distributed body weight that will have him pegged as a nose in either even or odd fronts. While the traits say run-plugger, the tape does not. He doesn’t control the point of attack with power and frequently gave ground to double teams and angle blocks. He has the power to handle single blocks and might be able to strengthen the anchor if his bend and leverage can be improved. He’s a try-hard rusher whose athleticism creates more pressure than expected. He has late-round value and might become a developmental prospect on a practice squad.” — NFL.com
“Slaton is an impressively built interior defensive line prospect . . . He carries his weight well with an evenly distributed body structure. Leverage is the name of his game and he often starts low in his stance . . . An extremely powerful player at the point of attack, he makes it difficult for double teams to move him off of his spots. He’s a true head-up 0-technique that thrives with maintaining both A-gaps . . . He’s been treated primarily as a two-down defender and he won’t provide much value on third down or obvious passing situations. As a run defender, there are stretches of inconsistencies of where he can make plays while engaged in single blocks, but he fails to make an impact and thus falls victim to runs being exploited through his gap.” — The Draft Network
“The Ft. Lauderdale native stayed in-state and chose to attend Florida after being a two-time high school state champion. A three-year starter for the Gators, Slaton probably had his best season in 2020 and his best games against Georgia and Kentucky, where he was stout against the run and ate up space in the middle of the line. Scouts comment that for as big as he is, Slaton isn’t “overweight” and uses his weight well . . . Slaton lines up in a low stance and uses good leverage to be a force at the point of attack. His game is all about power, and he appears to be a true nose tackle, which will likely be his position at the pro level . . . As a pass-rusher he has a swim move but is more of a bull rusher and has not been very effective. For the most part, he is an early-down run stuffer who will be replaced on passing downs.” – Mark Eckel from CheeseheadTV Draft Guide
FIT WITH THE PACKERS:
The Slaton pick makes a lot of sense for Green Bay at this point in the draft. It’s difficult to find impact players in the middle of Day 3, and while fans shouldn’t expect Slaton to be a playmaker on the field, he certainly can contribute immediately as a valuable role player. The Packers have needed more consistency in their run defense from their defensive line group outside of Kenny Clark. This selection will also reduce the amount of double teams Clark sees every week, freeing him up to shoot gaps and get penetration in the backfield.
The Packers could have used this pick to address inside linebacker, which is another big need on their defense. There were certainly a handful of talented off-ball linebackers on the board, like Charles Snowden, Dylan Moses, or KJ Britt. However, a stout nose tackle or one technique who can take on double teams against the run game only makes a team’s inside linebackers better. Martin and Barnes should be elated with this selection. It seems Green Bay is committing to their young inside backers and prioritizing the interior of the defensive line over the second level.