Prospect: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Grade: 7.7 (Grading Scale)
+ 320 lbs athlete who runs and moves extremely well for his size
+ Built like a boulder, solid and possesses great natural strength both in the lower half and upper body
+ Extremely quick and agile for DT, can change direction, extremely light on his feet
+ Lateral mobility is great for his size, able to change direction and redirect like a linebacker
+ Generates great explosion and power off the snap, with good burst and pad leverage
+ Quicker than fast, exhibits short area explosion and burst, both with his get off and ability to shoot his hands
+ Can accelerate through gaps and to the ball easily, often beats OL to gaps and gets into backfield
+ Outstanding strength, lower half strength makes him extremely tough to move off the line with one blocker
+ Star’s power/quickness combination is rare, not many naturally gifted athletes like him
+ Position versatile, stout and strong enough to play in a two gap system and on the nose tackle
+ Quick and fast enough to be a 4-3 DT, in which he can penetrate push the pocket and twist/stunt
+ Can also play in a 3-4 system on the end, in which he sets the edge, ties up blockers
– Could stand to shed some body fat without sacrificing strength
– Conditioning could be a factor in NFL, where speed of play is quicker and playing field is level strength wise
+ Versatile, scheme and position diverse
+ Play recognition has improved, able to recognize direction quickly and get to the ball
+ Could have been high pick in 2012 NFL draft but, returned to school for senior year
– Motor has been questioned as he has been caught taking plays off
Vs. the Run
+ Utilizes both his power and quickness in different spots to make a constant impact in the run game
+ Can be used as a space-eater/block holder, uses his strength to anchor the line of scrimmage
+ Doesn’t get overwhelmed at the point of attack
+ Has faced double and triple teams almost all games since he has been at Utah, knows how to beat them
+ Maintains a wide and strong base which allows him to either hold the line of scrimmage of get push vs. OL
+ With his burst and quickness he can shoot a gap and move laterally down the line of scrimmage to make a play in the backfield.
+ Even when he isn’t making the play he is able to get penetration and drive the blocker into the backfield creating havoc
+ Gets his arms extended off the snap giving him leverage to move the blocker
+ Doesn’t have much trouble shedding blocks with power when 1 on 1
+ Keeps shoulders square to the line of scrimmage and eyes in the back field
+ Will chase down the ball carrier on the perimeter of the defense or from behind with his speed
+ Will make others on the front seven better because so much attention and focus will be paid to him
– Teams will run away from him most of the time and he give an inconsistent effort on the play going away from him
– Doesn’t make as many plays as he should with his skill-set, could be due to attention paid to him
– If effort level isn’t consistent in the pros, he will be exploited more
+ Great burst and quickness off the ball gives him advantage one on one
+ Very good bull-rush, able to push the blocker into the pocket and forces the QB to move off the spot
+ Has the first step quickness and power to develop into a better rusher in the NFL with refinement of a power rip/swim move
+ His sack numbers have increased each year up to 5 as a senior
– Not a natural pass rusher and doesn’t possess many pass rush moves
– Rarely uses his hands when pass rushing and lets OL get their hands engaged, relies primarily on the bull rush
– Despite rise in sacks as a senior the production as a pass rusher has been inconsistent and unimpressive
+ Plays with good pad level and usually wins the leverage battle at the line of scrimmage
+ Keeps shoulder pads square to the line of scrimmage doesn’t get turned or sealed out of the play
+ Keeps his eyes in the backfield and finds the ball as evidence by his tendency to recover fumbles
+ Short powerful steps, doesn’t get off balance
+ Sinks his hips and plays with a flat back, able to use power to shed blocks
– Hand use is the only negative for me, relies on power more-so than finesse with his hands
Star Lotulelei possesses a combination of size, power, quickness and strength that is truly elite. Lineman this big that move as well as Star are few and far between.
His power at the line of scrimmage to take on and eat up blocks will make other linemen around him better. He is near impossible to block one on one and has to be assigned multiple blockers at a time. His strength and quickness allows him to beat blocks and make plays in the run game consistently.
He should be able to play multiple positions in most different schemes from NT to 4-3 DT. His ability to push the pocket has created havoc for opposing rushing offenses. While he isn’t much of a natural pass rusher he does exhibit the natural tools to become better once he learns some try pass rush technique and moves.
As long as he can learn how to not take plays off and work on his motor Star could be a “star” in the NFL. He hasn’t been as productive as Haloti Ngata was at the college level, but he possesses the natural ability and skill set to turn into that type of player int he NFL. He will be highly sought after by probably every team picking in the top ten.
He won’t make it out of the top ten and probably will be picked in the top five of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Utah vs USC
-Lining up as 0, 1, and 3-tech defensive tackle.
-Draws holding penalty, good pad level, got into the OL’s frame.
-Quick reaction, huge initial punch – disrupts exchange and comes up with fumble.
-Man-handling one of the top centers early on in this game.
Utah vs Utah State
– Eyes remain in the backfield, aware of what the offense is trying to do
– Looks tired, not getting off the ball and standing up with minimal effort in pass rush
– Hasn’t made nearly the impact in the second half, might be winded, but not exhibiting the burst or drive that he did early on.