Texas native Andrew Luck went number one to Indianapolis, while Baylor’s Heisman-winner Robert Griffin III went second to Washington. And for the first time ever, Texas A&M produced a top ten pick two years in a row, with quarterback Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins, number eight) following in the footsteps of Von Miller, now a Denver Broncos linebacker.
None of these developments at last night’s National Football League draft were a surprise–though Miami’s selection of Tannehill, whose stock had risen to projected first-rounder, got sportswriters’ tongues wagging on Twitter, especially since the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator is none other than Tannehill’s former Texas A&M head coach, Mike Sherman.
Now let’s see if Tannehill gets Mike Sherman fired twice.
— kbohls (@kbohls) April 27, 2012
I watched Ryan Tannehill a lot – struggled vs. OSU, OU, Tex. A month ago, I’d have told you he’d be a 3rd or 4th-round pick. Goes 8 overall?
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) April 27, 2012
“I didn’t take him at the 8th pick in the draft to be a backup quarterback,” Ireland said when asked about Ryan Tannehill’s ceiling.
— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) April 27, 2012
Now comes day two, when the most interesting Texas college player selected should be offensive tackle Amini Silatolu of Midwestern State University (pictured above), the Division II, Lone Star Conference school in Wichita Falls. The six-foot-four, 311-pound Northern Californian and son of Tongan immigrants, has been “one of the most talked about players for months,” wrote Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
It’s unusual, though certainly not unheard of, for a D2 player to go early in the draft. Cowboys great Larry Allen, to whom Silatolu has been compared, was a second-rounder out of Sonoma State in 1994, while Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Jermane Mayberry was a first-rounder for the Eagles in 1996.
Silatolu will become the first Midwestern player ever taken in the draft (former Indianapolis Colts running back Dominic Rhodes was an undrafted free agent). He came to Wichita Falls from junior college, and was originally supposed to attend the University of Nevada, but did not qualify academically.
“I just know that if you put him at Oklahoma or Texas, he’d do the same things at Oklahoma or Texas that he did here,” Midwestern State coach Bill Maskill told Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, who reported that all 32 NFL teams have scouted him (the Cowboys met him face-to-face).
Projections have had Silotulu going as high as number thirty (which did not happen) and number 44. Former Cowboys vice president of player personnel Gil Brandt, who writes for NFL.com, had him as the twenty-fifth best prospect in his final pre-draft ranking.
Maskill told Mark Godi of the Stockton Record that Brandt gave Silatolu some advice before last season:
He told him that if you get noticed at a Division II, you have to dominate every single down. That is what scouts will expect of someone of your ability. I think Amini took that to heart and a switch came on.
Midwstern went 10-0 last season, beating up on the likes of Texas A&M-Commerce, Incarnate Word, and Tarleton State before falling in the D2 playoffs. Its Silatolu-led offensive line gave up just nine sacks, with the Mustangs leading the nation in total offense (531.9 yards per game) and rushing (323.5).
“We just liked to take it down the other team’s throats,” Silatolu told Matthew Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. “Every week, the goals started getting higher. It got to a point where if we didn’t get 350 (rushing yards), it was a disappointment.”
The draft resumes tonight with the second and third rounds at 6 p.m.