2013 NFL Draft: Utah DT Star Lotulelei primed to go No. 1?

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by RS12, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. RS12

    RS12 Well-Known Member

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    Is Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei worthy of the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft?

    That's the million dollar question for scouts around the league without a consensus choice as the top prospect of the 2013 draft class.

    Although West Virginia's Geno Smith and USC's Matt Barkley will garner serious consideration as the first overall pick based on their value as potential franchise quarterbacks, the lack of a few blue-chip characteristics could prevent either guy from claiming the top spot. In addition, the possibility of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns or Carolina Panthers earning the top pick could change the draft landscape, seeing as all three teams recently spent a first-round pick on a quarterback.

    Every Monday, NFL.com college football expert Bucky Brooks looks back on the weekend action and evaluates which prospects are rising and which are sliding.

    Given the likelihood of those scenarios unfolding, scouts are furiously attempting to identify a player worthy of consideration as the biggest impact player in the 2013 class. While the aforementioned Barkley and Smith stand out on the offensive side of the ball, the defense features Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o and Lotulelei as crown jewels of the senior class.

    I've previously discussed Te'o in this column, and he might be the best defensive player in the draft, but the inside linebacker position isn't valued at a premium and that might lead teams to focus on Lotulelei and his rock-solid game.

    In watching tape of Lotulelei from this season, I'm impressed with his combination of size, strength and athleticism. At 6-foot-4, 325 pounds, Lotulelei is a low-leverage player with outstanding first-step quickness. He explodes off the ball at the snap and shows tremendous pop engaging with blockers. Lotulelei's brute strength and power overwhelms most opponents, resulting in consistent penetration into the backfield against the run. When Lotulelei isn't able to overpower blockers with bull-rush moves, he displays the athleticism and body control to win with quickness. He flashes the burst to chase down runners in a short area, and his ability to evade blockers at the point of attack with finesse moves is surprising considering his size.

    As a pass rusher, Lotulelei is a powerful penetrator with the capacity to walk defenders into the lap of the quarterback. Although his hand work and rush moves remain unpolished, Lotulelei's natural strength and power allows him to collapse the pocket from up the gut, forcing quarterbacks to move from their sweet spot. Lotulelei would be hard-pressed to develop into a double-digit sack artist from the interior, but his ability to press the pocket and alter the quarterback's timing is a valuable trait that coaches appreciate in the middle of a defense.

    In pointing out flaws in Lotulelei's game, I would cite an inconsistent motor as his biggest weakness.

  2. RS12

    RS12 Well-Known Member

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    Interesting take on Geno Smith.
  3. Manwiththeplan

    Manwiththeplan Well-Known Member

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    I see no way KC passes on him. Maybe Jacksonville decides he's not much better than Gabbert (hard to believe), but even then he goes #2 to KC.
  4. Manwiththeplan

    Manwiththeplan Well-Known Member

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    As far as Lotulelei, I see him going top 5, not 1rst or 2nd. Looking at the top of the draft you have

    Kansas City- Will take which ever QB looks to be the #1 guy which is Geno Smith. Even if they don't, they already have a D-line of Tyson Jackson and last years #1 pick Dontario Poe. I just can't imagibe them taking a NT #1.

    Jacksonville- I can see him going here. But I can also see a whole host of other moves. I can see Jarvis Jones as a Von Miller type 4-3 OLB or a DE (current team leader in sacks has 2). I can see Manti Te'o as a BPA pick. I can even see a QB like Barkley/Wilson rising to #2.

    Cleveland- They have Ahtyba Rubin and Phil Taylor at both DT spots and a whole host of other needs.

    Carolina- I can see this as well. They have a definate needs, but most importantly, they have a QB (no Geno Smith, Matt Barkley or Tyler Wilson). They have a MLB (no Manti Te'o) and they have d pass rushers in Greg Hardy (7 sacks) and Charles Johnson (8.5 sacks). Only other place I see them going is Luke Joeckel (OT, Texas A&M).

    So gun to my head, It's possibile, but I really think Geno goes #1 to either KC or Jax

    1.) Kansas City- Geno Smith
    2.) Jacksonville- Star Lotulelei
    3.) Cleveland- Jarvis Jones
    4.) Carolina- Luke Joeckel

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