Casual Carolina Panthers fans are waking up this morning and yet again having a hard time pronouncing the name of the newest Carolina Panther. Amini Silatolu? Chances are you have not heard that name on sports center.
Last season, if you are being honest, the Panthers offensive line was not one of the strengths of the Panthers. Their talented running backs helped to hide this fact by masking sub par offensive line blocking with positive runs. Since then the Panthers have lost their most talented guard in Tavelle Wharton, leaving the line even less likely to open up gaping holes for Deangelo Williams to sprint through.
With their second round selection the Panthers addressed the loss of Travelle Wharton by replacing him with who some consider to have first round talent - Amini Silatolu. Don Banks of Sports Illustrated had San Fran taking Amini with the 30th pick of the first round.
Silatolu has an important trait that some could say the Panthers Offensive Line could use an injection of... nastiness. Amini caught the eyes of the Panthers front office with his ability to finish off defenders. Granted, these defenders were from smaller schools, but at six foot three and three hundred and eleven pounds, the Panthers are confident his transition to the pro game will be a smooth one.
While at Midwestern State, Amini was remarkable. At left tackkle, he had an overall blocking grade of 94.7 percent, the only offensive lineman in the draft with over 90 percent for his college career. He also posted 97 knockdowns.
“The one thing that stands out is his nasty temperament. When you’re playing at a certain level like that you should dominate — and he did dominate the competition. So you feel like going to the next level he’s going to be very, very competitive.” - Ron Rivera
“When you put on the tape of him he puts a lot of people on the ground. You see the athleticism and the physical play.” - Marty Hurney
It isn't a flashy pick. Offensive Guard is not a pick that will stir up the fan base. However, you can bet your sweet ass Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart toasted this pick Friday evening.
Here is to hoping Amini has plenty of ire in his belly for the 2012 season. Maybe now the Panthers will actually run the ball on 3rd and 1.