Taking a look at two small-school sleepers

Breaking down two of the draft’s more intriguing small school linemen.

OT Tom Compton: South Dakota (6-6, 314)

Compton certainly looks the part of an NFL offensive lineman. He’s a tall kid with some natural girth through his base, solid length and an overall athletic looking frame. He showcases some natural range in pass protection as he can reach average speed off the edge and possesses a quick first step. He’s routinely able to get around blocks in the run game, hit a moving target and overall moves well for his size.

However, he too often extends his arms out of front of him, almost locking out his elbows prematurely into contact. Therefore, he doesn’t generate any power on his punch and his hand placement is routinely too low causing him to struggle to stick through the play. He’s also very raw technically with his footwork at this stage, often knocking his heels together and seems a bit tight in the hips. When trying to shuffle and slide laterally he has a tough time quickly moving his feet, staying low and re-directing. Too often he’s forced to lung into contact because of his lacking natural movement skills and doesn’t generate the power needed on his punch to push defenders past the play.

Overall, he possesses an NFL caliber frame and some athleticism, but looks tight hipped, has a long way to go with his technique and simply isn’t a “plus” in any area physically to warrant a draft pick. Looks more like a free agent at this stage who should be able to earn a spot on a practice squad in year one.

OG Amini Silatolu: Midwestern State (6-3, 324)

A thick, wide-bodied offensive lineman who plays left tackle at Midwestern State. Possesses a powerful lower half, natural flexibility and exhibits the physical make-up to be ideally suited for guard at the next level. Showcases very good foot quickness for his size, displays some natural mirror ability and can slide his feet through contact. Is just going to need to do a better job playing lower as he has a tendency to pop upright in pass protection. However, extends his arms well and is a balanced/powerful puncher who can rock opposing linemen on contact.

Is a dominant run blocker. Not only can he coil up into his stance and really snap through his hips into contact, but he also loves to finish. He showcases a strong lower half and can run his legs through defenders and routinely get a good push in-line. Now, at times he just throws himself at defenders and will lose balance at the point, but the body control and explosion is certainly there for him to win inside at the next level. Showcases “plus” range for his size when asked to pull as a backside tackle, lead the power play and reach defenders in space. Plays with a nasty streak and his combination of range, athleticism and balance makes him dominant when kicking out defenders in the hole. Loves to block downfield as well, routinely plays until the whistle and his range in space is very impressive. He breaks down quickly, drops his pad level and can even cut defenders down in space.

Overall, he has some technical flaws that need to be fixed and will likely have to kick inside at the next level. However, he’s a wide-bodied athlete with a powerful/explosive frame, good foot quickness and can really pull from the backside. Might need some time, but Silatolu is one of the top guard prospects in the class with a ton of upside to go along with his talent.

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