With the 14th Pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers (Bronco Inferno) has selected. . .
Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
The Panthers feel like they got a steal with arguably one of the top talents in the nation and a player worthy of a top five selection @ #14 in the first round. I will let BroncoInferno post more analysis when he can. I made this pick in his stead after he sent his priority list.
STRENGTHS: Boasts all of the physical traits to ultimately rank as one of the better, more versatile defensive linemen in the NFL.
Flashes an explosive burst off the snap. Possesses the lateral agility and flexibility to slip through gaps and ruin plays before they even have a chance to begin.
Strong, heavy hands to control his opponent and possesses the upper and core strength to simply rag-doll offensive linemen. Possesses a thick, classic Polynesian build well suited to anchoring against the run, making him a natural candidate to play inside at nose guard or defensive tackle, as well as a five-technique defensive end.
Has a developing arm-over swim move to break free from blockers when initially slowed at the point of attack. Locates the ball well and gives good effort in lateral pursuit to make the tackle. Has only average arm length but is very strong, showing the ability to grab and pull down ballcarriers seemingly out of his grasp. Has a short-area burst to close on the ball and can generate impressive explosiveness as a hitter.
Seemed to step up his play against top competition, enjoying some of his best moments against USC (and highly regarded senior center Khaled Holmes), as well as state rivals BYU and Utah State.
WEAKNESSES: Inconsistent. Relies too much on his unique physical traits to overcome rather marginal technique. Does not possess an elaborate array of pass rush moves and has just seven sacks in 38 career games at Utah. Too often is stale-mated when his initial burst and power are contained.
Possesses shorter than ideal arms, which contributes to his struggles slipping blocks and his relative lack of passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage (five over his career).
Carries a bit of extra weight around his midsection and played at Snow Junior College in 2008 at more than 350 pounds. Will be slightly older than most prospects (turned 23 in December) after sitting out the 2009 season.
COMPARES TO: Kevin Williams, Minnesota Vikings -- While a touch shorter than the Vikings' former All-Pro, Lotulelei offers a similarly dominant combination of quickness and power and should one day rank among the league's best interior defensive linemen.
Pick made at 7:10 MST, 8:10 CST, 9:10 EST.
Drek and the New Orleans Saints are OTC.