Star Lotulelei was one of the wild-card players in this year’s NFL Draft. The talented defensive tackle was once ranked near the top of draft boards, but quickly dropped after a bad combine. The main issue was his health scare, which was initially thought to be a heart problem, but was later ruled out after several tests. The Carolina Panthers were apparently confident the tests were accurate, when they took Lotulelei with the 14th overall pick in the draft.
It was widely speculated the Panthers would select a defensive tackle this year, and Lotulelei was most definitely on the short-list. I never really bought in to him being a top pick in the draft, even before the health scare. Still, he went in a fair spot, basically right in the middle of round one. The Panthers didn’t reach, and they addressed a need. Lotulelei should be able to come in and be a starter right way in Carolina, even though there are questions if he can be a three-down player. The talent is there with the DT, and he should fit in nicely with Ron Rivera‘s defense.
The Panthers weren’t bad on defense a season ago, but some additions and rearrangements are certainly in order. Lotulelei is a great start to that process, and fans will have to hope the defensive help keeps coming in the later rounds.
Are the Panthers taking a big chance with Lotulelei? It’s not a reach, but it’s not the safest pick in the world, either.
For more information on Star Lotulelei check out his 2013 NFL Draft Profile here!
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