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Breaking down the draft grades of Rashawn Slater and Greg Newsome’s selections

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Simply put, the draft pundits loved both picks.

NFL: NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the first round of the NFL Draft in the books, experts everywhere have put out their night one draft grades, assessing the quality of teams’ choices. Two Northwestern players — tackle Rashawn Slater and cornerback Greg Newsome II — heard their names called on Thursday, so here’s a breakdown of how their selections have fared in the eyes of the draft punditry.

Rashawn Slater

Selected 13th overall by the Los Angeles Chargers

SB Nation’s James Dator — A-

The Ringer’s Danny Kelly — A+

The Draft Network’s Ryan Fowler — A

NFL.com’s Chad Reuter — A

Going into the draft, it seemed somewhat clear that the Chargers were intent upon building around newfound franchise QB Justin Herbert, specifically by providing him with some blindside protection on the offensive line. Los Angeles GM Tom Telesco, who called the Slater “a perfect fit” on Thursday night, has to be thrilled that Sugar Land, Texas native, considered a consensus top-two lineman in the player pool, was still available 13 picks in, and the draft grades reflect that.

None of the experts’ assessments of Slater list any weaknesses, but Reuter highlights that concerns surrounding his physical build may have been what kept him from being selected in the top ten. Still, the NFL.com draft analyst says that he had even better tape than heralded Oregon tackle Penei Sewell, who went 7th overall to the Detroit Lions, and ESPN’s draft expert Mel Kiper called the Chargers one of the winners of night one, saying that the pick “is a dream come true” for Los Angeles. Not bad for the first Northwestern player taken in the first round since 2005.

Greg Newsome II

Selected 26th overall by the Cleveland Browns

SB Nation’s James Dator — B+

The Ringer’s Danny Kelly — A

The Draft Network’s Ryan Fowler — A

NFL.com’s Chad Reuter — A

Perhaps Newsome, who has called himself the best cornerback in this year’s class on a number of occasions, may have been disappointed with his slide to the 26th pick, but the pundits see him as a great fit for a Cleveland team on the rise. Fowler states in his analysis that prevailing anti-Northwestern bias in NFL front offices may have contributed to his fall, writing that Newsome “could have been the top corner off the board if he didn’t go to Northwestern.”

Of the four graders, Dator gave the Newsome selection the lowest grade with a B+, saying that there “are some questions about whether he saw enough top-end talent in college.” While tape of Newsome effectively shutting down star Purdue wideout David Bell might put some of those concerns to rest, Newsome has been known to embrace any doubts and quickly cast them aside in the past, and he’ll now look to do so again in the pros.