The need wasn’t immediate, but that didn’t stop the Carolina Panthers.
They just selected Midwestern State offensive lineman Amini Silatolu in the second round (40th overall).
This one comes as a bit of a surprise. Most of Carolina’s remaining needs are on defense and their offensive line is in pretty good shape.
Silatolu played left tackle in college, but projects as an NFL guard. The Panthers appear to be set there with Geoff Hangartner and Mike Pollak as the likely starters and Byron Bell providing some depth. But this pick wasn’t about immediate need.
Silatolu is a guy with huge upside, but he likely will need a little time to develop. He’ll get that time with Hangartner and Pollak ahead of him. But the Panthers want to protect quarterback Cam Newton for the long term. Pollak was signed only to a one-year contract and Hangartner isn’t much better than average. The Panthers obviously are hoping Silatolu can be better than average in a year or two.
It also is possible the Panthers could view Silatolu as a tackle. There is some uncertainty at right tackle because of Jeff Otah's injury problems. But the Panthers already have some depth there with Garry Williams and Bell.