SCOUTING Amini Silatolu

With the 40th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers selected OG Amini Silatolu from Midwestern State.

With the 40th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers selected OG Amini Silatolu from Midwestern State.

Per our friends at Optimum Scouting, here is the report on Silatou:

BACKGROUND / CHARACTER

Beginning his collegiate career at San Joaquin Delta, started as a freshman and sophomore. Selected by the CCCCA for first-team All-American honors in his 2008 sophomore campaign, Silatolu was named the top offensive lineman in his conference and a first-team all conference selection as well. Drawing interest from FBS schools, Silarolu signed with Nevada but never played a snap for the Wolfpack, and missed the entire 2009 season because he did not qualify academically; Silatolu then transferred to Midwestern State in 2010, where he took over left tackle duties, starting 9 games at the position (missing 1 due to broken hand). Becoming the first MSU lineman to earn Lone Star Conference Lineman of the year honors, Silatolu was a consensus Division II All-American. Finishing up his career at MSU starting 10 games in 2011 (did not participate in 1 game due to missed study hall), earned a second, consecutive LSC Offensive Lineman of the year award.

BLOCKING POWER

Has nasty, mean streak and violent, physical style of play that coaches look for in a road grading offensive guard. Can be seen driving his man 10 yards downfield after the whistle is blown; consistently gives plus effort through the whistle. Will clean up the pile. Plays with impressive pad level and leverage throughout each and every down, being able to work underneath his opponent's midsection and dominate in the run game. Packs a heavy initial punch to jolt his opponent, creating a push directly off the snap. Possesses a thick trunk and powerful lower half to dominate as a drive blocker. After a reach step for inside positioning, Silatolu can punch, latch, and turn his man in the hole to create a running lane. Has no problem grabbing and slinging 2nd level defenders; will look for additional targets to hit after his assignment is taken care of, and again, will fight until the whistle is blown. Can control his man following initial engagement, but will fall off blocks due to technique.

BLOCKING TECHNIQUE

An incredibly raw guard that needs a good deal of work with both his hand placement and positioning, Amini Silatolu also must improve mentally as a prospect. Too many mental errors can be seen on film; whether it be committing a false start penalty, mishearing the playcall, or being confused by a certain defensive alignment, Silatolu must work hard to improve this part of his game. The most noticeable flaw in Silatolu's technique, is that his hand placement often lands outside; instead of punching with the target being the defender's chestplate, Silatolu fires his hands around the defender and as a result, is forced to grasp the backside of his opponent's jersey. Though I like the aggression and violence of his initial punch, Silatolu needs to keep his hands in to improve the placement and accuracy of his punches. Handles the power and speed rush equally well, sitting into an athletic stance, playing within his framework, and generating force with each punch.

ATHLETICISM

Very good athlete that wins with relentless effort and energy on a snap-to-snap basis. Can bend and flex into a solid, sturdy, and athletic blocking base. Has movement skills to pull on trap or counter runs, with the ability to work through trash, keep his feet, and land a second level block. Thick bodied, yet not sloppy in build, with solid midsection bulk, powerful arms and legs, and a sturdy trunk; cannot draw up a more prototypical NFL guard. Carries his weight extremely well, maintaining excellent balance due to low pad level and center of gravity. Much quicker and mobile than his 40 time and combine numbers would seem to indicate, it is important to note that Silatolu fought through a still healing hamstring pull and re-aggravated the injury as a result. In realizing the competitive fire and drive to work through an injury, Silatolu only helped his draft stock in participating at the combine. Improved virtually all his numbers at MSU's pro day, posting a 32 inch vert and 9 foot 2 inch broad jump. Displayed very good movement skills in onfield workouts at the combine; did excellent job in both his trap blocking steps and outside pulls.

BLOCKING FEET

Despite playing left tackle at Midwestern State, Silatolu was still utilized as the lead, pulling blocker on counter plays and trap dives. Displayed an impressive ability to move across 3 running holes, locate a 2nd level target, keep his feet and balance while on the move, not hold up the runner, and forcefully land 2nd level blocks with power; overpowers and doubles over linebackers at the point of attack with no problem whatsoever. Has good on-the-move anchor and keeps his feet for the most part; will get into trouble as a result of poor cutoff angles, which results in bending at the waist and overextension. Will benefit greatly at the next level with a position change to guard, as he did not fare extremely well in space; although he held his own, Silatolu struggled with pass rushers when giving a two-way go. Unable to explosive drive inside with a power step to stymie the inside pass rush, Silatolu was oftentimes forced to reach, latch, and ride out his man past the quarterback, forcing the quarterback to slide within the pocket and reset his feet. Does an exceptional job as a tandem blocker, working to the 2nd level off the double team; has the foot speed and balance, to move and strike multiple targets.

SUMMARY

In terms of physical tools and style of play, there isn't much not to like about an offensive guard like Amini Silatolu; big, thick-bodied, powerful and athletic guard, who has the feet of an offensive tackle, with the violent, vicious, "play-through-the-whistle" mentality and aggression that NFL coaches vie for. Forced to play Division II level because he did not qualify academically at Nevada, Silatolu dominated every opponent he faced at the lower level, leaving no doubt as to whether or not he could be play at the NFL level. His combination of movement skills, natural feet, athletic, thick, and powerful build, heavy handed punch, lower body anchor, and upper half girth and strength, make him an appealing option for both zone and man blocking schemes. I feel his pull and trap skills are so close to elite that Silatolu's best fit is with a man blocking system that will use him as the lead blocker on power, trap, and counter plays. Does an excellent job of keeping his feet while moving behind the line of scrimmage, maintaining low pad level, locating a target, and forcefully striking his target to create a running lane; even when out of position, shows an ability to turn his man in the hole with overpowering upper half strength. Can be seen on tape throwing 2nd and 3rd level defenders with ease, and will drive his man 10 yards downfield if engaged securely. Outstanding drive blocker that has a relentless motor, good anchor on the move, and heavy hands to create initial push back. Works well off the double team to land 2nd level blocks, and again, is a near elite pull and trap blocker. Playing left tackle at every stop in college, Silatolu stands to benefit from a position change to guard; is an excellent phone-booth athlete when working within the tackle box and moving up to the second level, having plus feet and impressive movement skills. Still, Silatolu is an unfinished product with a handful of technique issues to clean up and a Division II level of competition resume. Also, the inability to qualify academically at Nevada, as well as a coaches suspension for missing study hall raises question marks. Silatolu's biggest issue is hand placement, as he struggles to consistently keep his hands inside with his initial punch.


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