Former Utah Utes star defensive tackle Star Lotulelei has seen his draft stock climb back up again, and I highly doubt that he ends up dropping out of the top ten in this draft. Lotulelei, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, has “a lot of interest” from the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers have the 14th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft and will most likely not be in a position to draft Lotulelei, and La Canfora uses this to explain that the 14th pick is the absolute “floor” for Lotulelei.
I think there is a great chance we see Star Lotulelei taken in the top five of the draft, even if the Oakland Raiders view Sharrif Floyd as the better and “safer” prospect. The Philadelphia Eagles have significant interest in Lotulelei, and taking the Utah product would make quite a bit of sense for the Eagles. They could play Lotulelei in all spots on the defensive line in their 3-4 defense, as Lotulelei has the talent and versatility to play everywhere in a three-man front.
The Eagles also reportedly have high interest in Lotulelei, and there are rumblings that the Arizona Cardinals could take the blue-chip prospect with the seventh pick in the draft if the falls outside the top five.
I highly doubt the Panthers end up in a position to draft Star Lotulelei with the 14th pick, and it wouldn’t be prudent for the Panthers, who have many needs, to trade up in this draft to take Lotulelei. They are better off trading down or even just staying pat at taking a guy like Sheldon Richardson of the Missouri Tigers (easily the most popular selection for the Panthers in mock drafts). Although defensive tackle is likely the biggest need for the Panthers, they have so many needs that trading up and losing picks would be a poor decision- no matter how good Lotulelei is and how much of a fixture he would be for the Panthers at DT.
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