A three year starter with the Utes, Lotulelei is considered one of the top prospects in the entire draft this year. Up until the NFL combine, he was considered the top defensive tackle prospect overall and only trailed an offensive lineman or two for best overall prospect. His draft status took a hit when news broke that he would not be performing at the 2013 NFL Combine, due to a physical that uncovered a heart condition. After this news broke, the uncertainty of the situation began to cast doubt on him and his draft status.
NFL Network’s Mike Mayock lists Lotulelei as the best 3-4 defensive lineman in the upcoming draft class. As a senior he amassed 42 combined tackles, five sacks and three forced fumbles. Production aside, it might be his versatility that attracts the Eagles and head coach Chip Kelly. As we are slowly learning about Kelly, he prefers versatile athletes on his team. Lotulelei can have success as an end or nose tackle in the Eagles new defensive front; which will likely feature more of a 3-4 front than that of a 4-3 front.
During free agency the Eagles did bring in 31 year old, former San Francisco 49ers NT Isaac Sopoaga to man their nose tackle position. He manned that same position for the 49ers for nine seasons and produced at a high level. However, Sopoaga was not viewed as an every-down nose tackle and in the past has come out on passing downs. Lotulelei may be drafted to utilize his versatility at defensive end and spell Sopoaga in passing situations.
It will be speculated which way the Eagles decide to go with the fourth overall draft pick until April 25th. The one thing that we do know is that Lotulelei will be in play for the Eagles, depending on the outcome of this private workout.