The news from the NFL Combine was not good for Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. The heart issues that were detected are of major concern, but that doesn’t mean NFL teams must panic just yet. This hold especially true for a team like the Oakland Raiders, one of the teams that may select him in April’s NFL Draft.
It is true Lotulelei’s stock will drop because he was unable to work out at the Combine, but his immense talent on the field should compensate for that. Lotulelei was able to talk with teams in Indianapolis, so most of the NFL will at least get to know him personally. The personality of these players are nearly as important as their actual physical measurements so if teams can get to know how he deals with adversity like this it could significantly help him on draft night.
The time for panic may come later when Lotulelei undergoes further testing prior to his pro day on March 20. If it is confirmed to be a chronic heart condition it could be a sign of possible heart damage which will no doubt send him plummeting down draft boards if he even decides to play in the NFL.
For the Raiders specifically, losing out on Lotulelei is not too big of a deal because there are plenty of other impact defensive players in the draft that Oakland can snatch up at No. 3. In addition, there are plenty of other defensive tackles who could be available in the third round if the Raiders decide to go in that direction. Either way, there is no reason for Oakland to panic about Lotulelei and his health just yet.