It’s true that big schools typically deliver some of the preeminent talent for the NFL draft. According to Pro Football Weekly, over the past decade a total of 2,560 players have been drafted in the National Football League. Amazingly, nearly three-fourths of the players drafted from 2002-2011 came from BCS schools.
So how do these statistics affect a prospect like Midwestern State guard Amini Silatolu?
They don’t. In this specific case, Silatolu’s talents far outweigh that of his school’s size.
Never mind the fact that small time Midwestern State has only produced four NFL players in its schools history.
Silatolu is a tenacious, 6’3", 320-pound trench warrior, whose Polynesian roots play an integral role in his aggressive, never say die nature.
He's throwback tough. He punishes opposing players, consistently looking to bury his adversaries. He shows great lateral movement and displays the ability to effectively fire out of his stance with fantastic hip snap.
It’s evident through watching film on him that his skills will translate well at the next level.
The concern with most scouts isn’t with his ability, but with the competition he faced at MSU. But, I don’t believe that to be an issue. He didn’t just dominate opponents at MSU, he annihilated them.
So how does a player of Silatolu’s talent level end up at a school like Midwestern State?
Poor testing scores. An issue that could hamper his ability to effectively grasp an NFL playbook. An issue that could make him a project player and project players don’t typically go in the first round.
But, with that being said, his talent is undeniable and a team like the Detroit Lions would love to see him available in the second round.
Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz is more like Patriots head coach Bill Belichick than the casual Lions fan would like to admit, and trading back is something that general manager Martin Mayhew has been openly considering.
Where a talent of Silatolu’s caliber actually falls remains to be seen, but you can be sure he’s somewhere near the top of Detroit’s draft board.