Continuing our count down of the top 20 Panthers to watch in 2012 as determined by the CSR staff we have rookie OG Amini Silatolu. It might seem improbable that a rookie could be ranked in the top 20 so quickly by James Dator explains his vote:
It's proof positive that so many of us think that Amini can make an impact year-one that he made this list without playing a down. As it stands the Panthers are putting the rookie guard in a role where he can succeed (much like Cam last year) by playing him at LG, and allowing Jordan Gross and Ryan Kalil to help him with his pass blocking. As the pulling guard Silatolu will immediately help the Panthers option plays, and create a formidable challenge to linebackers who look to take down the ball carrier past the LoS.
He does seem to have the best of arrangements with two Pro Bowlers on either side of him. Plus the thought of him pulling and getting out front and taking on a LB and bull dozing him like Brad Hoover used to do is a sight I would love to see.
Also, Rick Bates points out what Silatolu brings that we have been missing on the offensive line:
For Silatolu, I would add that he adds a much needed nastiness, and he is relentless through (and sometimes beyond) the whistle. He's a master pancake maker that many scouts compare to Jahri Evans. Amini definitely has pro-bowl type potential once he learns the nuances and adjusts to the speed of the game. Coming from a Division II program, there will likely be a steep learning curve, but he'll be getting his training while playing with the first team offense.
Those of us that did not include him were typically considering the kid has yet to play a down in the NFL. That's a reasonable explanation but he does come with high expectations. Hence he is definitely a player to keep an eye on in 2012. A revived running game will be a key to giving Cam more time in the pocket where he is just learning how to hurt an offense in all facets of an offense.