Star Lotulelei I Utah I DT I 6031 I 320 I Senior
40 Time (E): 5.10
Overview: Versatility is the name of the game in today’s NFL. The more spots you can fill, the more likely to be a high draft. With teams running multiple fronts, they are looking for players with scheme diversity. That defines everything I love with Star Lotulelei. Lotulelei is a fit as a 0-technique, 1-technique, 3-technique, and 5-technique. It’s that versatility that has analysts invoking comparisons to Baltimore’s Haloti Ngata. At a shade over 6-foot-3, 320 pounds Lotulelei possesses rare movement skills to go with freakish power. Lotulelei will be a 24-year old rookie as he spent two years at Snow College (UT) before signing with Utah in 2010. He started three contests in 2010 and became a full time starter in 2011 and 2012.
Pass Rush: Overall, Star flashes the ability to apply pressure and move the pocket. His first step is impressive for a man of his size and shows flashes of rare burst. He primarily used his strength to bull rush in college which led to moving the pocket and increased sack production as a senior. He’s a sudden athlete with excellent closing burst. When Lotulelei beats his man off the snap with anticipation/burst he near impossible to stop (see 1st half of USC tape). The problem with Lotulelei as a pass rusher is that I used the word flashed quite a bit. He doesn’t get off the ball on a play in and play out basis. He doesn’t have any counter moves to team with his powerful bull rush. That said, there’s a ton of upside with Lotulelei that could lead to more production as an interior pass rusher at the next level.
Run Defense: Lotulelei was a guy that teams ran opposite of most of the time. His ability to anchor with strength makes him an obvious choice as a two-gap plugger at the next level. Strength at the point of attack to lock out blocker and read the play combined with the fact that he can blow up so many plays in the backfield with burst and power make him a special player in this regard. I came away from the tape most impressed with his lateral agility. Showed natural instincts when the play was going away to chase and fight through trash. When his motor is hot, he can be a dominate run defender in the NFL. Motor is the one question with Lotulelei as he flashes pure dominance at times and then goes unnoticed at others. He will need to find a level of consistency to excel at a Pro Bowl level in the NFL.
Size/Strength/Athleticism: Rare athleticism at this size. At over 6-foot-3, 320 pounds Lotulelei presents an equally proportioned upper and lower body. Thick base with tree trunks for legs and strong upper body with barrel chest, wide shoulders, and solid mass for his size. Impressive lateral agility skills for his size rivaled by impressive speed and burst. He’s an elite ‘big’ athlete with his combination of size, strength, and athleticism.
Technique: Rarely see Lotulelei on the ground which is a good sign for a guy that teams are often looking to cut. Rare balance and agility as evidenced by his ability to step over trash while keeping his eyes on the ball carrier. Displays good pad level and stays low through contact. Violent hands but needs to work on keeping his hands inside. Also needs to develop counter moves to his bull rush if he wants to make an impact as a pass rusher at the next level.
Bottom Line: All 32 teams will have a spot for a guy like Star Lotulelei. He’s scheme diverse with natural movement skills and power. He’s a rare specimen with the ability to wreak havoc in the middle of a defense. Could be a guy that is the pillar of the defense for many years. I am intrigued by his ability to play the 5-technique position as I think he offers the upside as a pass rusher at the next level. Like Ngata, Lotulelei could be drafted with an eye on him as a NT in the 3-4 but be moved to play the 5-technique early on in his career. Lotulelei has a shot at being a special player but will have to play with consistency if he wants to make a Ngata-like impact early on in his career. He’s a top five talent and could go first overall to Kansas City.