Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu Scouting Report | 2023 NFL Draft

Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu Scouting Report | Malaelasa Aumavae-Laulu began his journey to the 2023 NFL Draft in his hometown of Palmer, Alaska.

Player Bio

Malaelasa Aumavae-Laulu began his journey to the 2023 NFL Draft in his hometown of Palmer, Alaska. Aumavae-Laulu, better known as Sala, dominated his competition as a freshman at Palmer High School, so much so that his family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, to give him a better chance of getting recruited to a Division One program.

Upon arrival in Las Vegas, Sala enrolled at Liberty High School, where he would serve as the Patriots’ starting Right Guard and Right Tackle from 2014-2016. In his three seasons at Liberty, Sala would help lead the Patriots to three straight Sunrise Region Titles and Nevada 5A State Championship appearances. As a senior, Sala’s on-field performances helped him earn First-Team All-Southeast League honors and Second-Team All-State recognition from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Despite having his most successful season as a senior, Sala did not garner a ton of attention from Division I programs. After his senior season, Sala would continue his football career at Navarro Junior College in Corsicana, Texas, hoping to develop into an FBS-level prospect.

During Sala’s two seasons at Navarro JC, he made a name for himself as a versatile lineman that could play the guard or tackle positions on either side of the offensive line. Throughout Sala’s time at Navarro, he helped the Bulldogs’ offense accumulate an average of 465 total yards and 36 points per game.

By the time Sala’s sophomore year came around in 2017, he became one of the top JUCO prospects in the nation. Establishing himself as the highest-rated Offensive Tackles in the class of 2019, Sala received several scholarships from high-profile FBS programs such as Alabama, USC, Oklahoma, Florida, and Oregon.

On December 17th, 2018, Sala pledged his commitment to the University of Oregon. He was a winter enrollee, which allowed him to participate in spring practices during the 2019 offseason. 

Sala would use the 2019 season as a redshirt year but also appeared in two games, playing 35 snaps at right guard.

In a shortened 2020 season due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, Sala had a breakout season for the Ducks, starting six games at right tackle while also playing some valuable snaps at right guard. Sala totaled 360 snaps (135 at right tackle, 125 at right guard) and earned Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention honors for his performance on the season.

As a redshirt junior in 2021, Sala had another impactful year under the tutelage of former Oregon Head Coach Mario Cristobal and Offensive Line Coach Alex Mirabal. He started all 14 games played at the right tackle spot, playing a crucial role in helping the Ducks finish the 11th-ranked total offense in the nation.

After the Ducks fell to Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game, Coach Cristobal departed for the head coaching job at the University of Miami. Shortly after the departure of his head coach and position coach, who followed Cristobal to Miami, Sala announced his intentions to enter the 2022 NFL Draft.

However, after conversations with new Head Coach Dan Lanning and Director of On-Campus Recruiting J.R. Moala, Sala had a change of heart and announced his return for the 2022 season.

In Sala’s final season at Oregon, he made 14 starts at right tackle and was a key contributor to an offensive line unit that only allowed five sacks on the season. With Sala as its cornerstone right tackle, Oregon was the only team in the country to finish in the top 20 for both rushing and passing offense. Sala finished the season with a 77.0 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, ranking him eighth amongst all Pac-12 offensive linemen. Sala also earned Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention honors for the second time in his career.

Throughout Sala’s four seasons at Oregon, he recorded 29 career starts and played over 2,007 total snaps on the Ducks’ offensive line 1,823 at right tackle, 184 at right guard).

Scouting Report

Standing at 6-foot-6 and boasting a 330-pound frame, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu is a smooth mover with a quick get-off, fluid lateral mobility, and proficient foot/body quickness.

In the run game, Sala uses his explosive lower-half and high-level play strength to shoot out of his stance and establish dominance at the point of attack. With strong hands, low pad level, and great leg drive, Sala is a proven force as a run blocker. Sala’s solid athletic profile and mobility enable him to pull, climb to the second level, and move in the open field with ease. Along with his functional athleticism and flexible lower half, Sala is a tough competitor who finishes blocks consistently and operates with an aggressive and physical mentality in the trenches.

As a pass protector, Sala possesses a strong pass set, sharp mental instincts, and sufficient length. Sala has a strong and balanced base that helps him anchor to stop any potential bull rushes off the edge. At times, Sala plays too high out of his pass set and has a tendency to lose the leverage battle against more powerful EDGE rushers. Sala has an inconsistent punch-and-release technique and does not always move his hands and feet in unison, leading to some unpredictability about his pass-blocking potential as an NFL offensive tackle. Still, Sala’s keen mental instincts and communication allow him to adjust to pre-snap shifts and easily handle post-snap stunts and twists.

When it comes to Sala’s football profile, his strengths definitely outweigh his deficiencies. Sala’s run-blocking ability, position versatility, legit size, and NFL-ready frame provide him with tons of value going into the 2023 NFL Draft. He projects best at the right tackle spot but offers an intriguing skill set as a developmental tackle.

Given Sala’s experience, size, and proficiency as a run blocker, he will have a good chance to find his way onto a 53-man roster in August.

Draft Projection

Mid 5th–Early 6th

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