2013 NFL Draft: DT Star Lotulelei Scouting Report

By Marcus Burnan
April 22, 2013 10:48 am
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LotuleleiStar Lotulelei (pronounced 'Lot-too-lel-lay' was born in Tonga and moved to the United States with his family when he was 9 years old. 

He shares a similar history to current Baltimore Raven and fan favorite, Haloti Ngata.

Like Ngata in 2006, Lotulelei enters the 2013 NFL Draft as one of the best defensive prospects. 

At the Scouting Combine, Lotulelei was found to have a heart condition that caused the blood to be pumped slower than it should.

After tests by cardiologists at the University of Utah, the condition was found to be caused by a virus and eventually went away. It will not effect his pro career aspirations.

Despite only being 23 years old, he is already married with two young children.

Vitals

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 311 pounds
Position: defensive tackle
School: Utah Utes
Class: senior

College Stats/Production

Coming out of high school, Lotulelei was given a three-star rating by scouts. He attended junior college at Snow College where he recorded 52 tackles, 14 for loss, and 3 sacks.

In 2010, he elected to play for the University of Utah. In his first season with the Utes, he played 13 games but only started three. He recorded 21.5 sacks, 2.5 for loss and 0.5 sacks. In 2011 he was named the starter and recorded 44 tackles, 9.0 for loss, and 1.5 sacks.

During the 2012 season, Lotulelei recorded 43 tackes, 10,0 for loss, and 5.0 sacks. This performance made him the recipient of the Morris Trophy as the PAC-12's best defensive lineman.

In his entire three-year career with the Utes, Star Lotulelei recorded a total of 107 tackles, 21.5 for loss, and 7 sacks.

Strengths

Lotulelei possesses a big, powerful frame that will allow him to play as a nose tackle in the pros. He is also versatile enough to play any other position on the defensive line in both the 3-4 and 4-3 schemes.

He is able to read screen plays and adjust to the different blocking schemes that the offensive line shows before the snap is made. When the snap is made, he's the first off the line which allows him to contest the hand and foot placement with the offensive guards.

Weaknesses

He has a habit of losing the ball. He needs to improve on his ability to keep the ball in his sights and not get distracted by continuously chopping at blockers after the ball has left the area.

Due to how he's likely to be used at the next level, he's not going to be racking up the sacks like some of the other elite pass-rushing defensive tackles in the NFL.

Potential Landing Spots

Several teams could look to add Star Lotulelei to their rosters on April 25th. The Jacksonville Jaguars need a lot of help on the defensive line, and many mock drafts had Star going to them with the 2nd overall pick before his heart condition was revealed.

The Oakland Raiders are another team that has the chance of drafting Lotulelei. They have a big hole in their defense which could be filled with Lotulelei.

Many mock drafts have the Carolina Panthers taking a defensive tackle with their 14th overall pick, coud that pick turn out to be Lotulelei? There's a good chance of that.

Draft Projection

At one point, Star Lotulelei was a Top 3 pick. While he still may go that high, his heart condition has caused some concerns and as a result his stock has taken a hit. 

I expect to see Star Lotulelei drafted between the 3rd overall pick (Oakland) and the 15th overall pick (New Orleans). I do not see him falling further than that. He is just too talented for that.

NFL Comparison

It's not just the Tongan connection. Both Haloti Ngata and Star Lotelelui share the same characteristics, the same versatility to play different roles along the defensive line. Ngata is bigger and heavier (6'4", 340 pounds), but Lotulelei is no less dominant. 

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By Marcus Burnan
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