For those that know next to nothing about the man who is replacing likely Hall of Fame center Jeff Saturday as the anchor of the Colts offensive line, Satele is one of the more underrated players in the NFL. Offensive line players rarely get publicity, especially guys who play in the trenches. Jeff Saturday gets a lot of attention because 1) He's great on camera, 2) He's a huge big wig within the NFL players union, and 3) He's really good.
Satele is more inline with pretty much every other NFL interior lineman. He's quiet. He's unassuming. He's tough.
However, just because you likely never heard of the guy before the Colts signed him doesn't mean he stinks, or anything. Per Pro Football Focus and writer Khaled Elsayed, Satele had some impressive performances last year for Oakland Raiders.
Elsayed and PFF are in the middle of their 2011's Best Performances series, profiling the Top 10 best performances that players did at their respective positions. For the center position, the Texans Chris Myers and Satele were the only players to be ranked more than once for their play in 2011. Myers tied for the 10th best performance with the Browns Alex Mack, got the second best performance (Week 9 v. Cleveland), and the No. 1 performance by a center in 2011 (Week One against... ugh, the Colts).
For Satele, here is where his performances ranked:
4t. Samson Satele, Oakland Raiders: Week 3 vs. New York Jets (+4.6)
You don’t often see a center do so well against Sione Pouha and Mike Devito, but other than getting beaten badly once by Devito, Satele enhanced his reputation with a strong display. Giving up no pressure and winning both in the trenches and at the second level, the Raider was exceptional.
8. Samson Satele, Oakland Raiders: Week 15 vs. Detroit (+4.2)
The problem with Satele is you never quite know what you’re going to get. When he’s on form, he has talent that many centers in the league would struggle to replicate, though he too often fails to deliver. That wasn’t a problem in Week 15, with the Raider not allowing a single pressure and not grading negatively once in the run game.
I've heard lots of positive things about Satele. So, the knock regarding a lack of consistency is interesting. It seems there is no doubting his talent. Perhaps the environment that was Oakland, before Reggie McKenzie showed up to clean house, just didn't help him play at the level he is capable of. So far, Satele seems to like Indianapolis. Maybe the change of venue, coaching staff, and team culture will help him.