STRENGTHS - Blessed with the rare combination of top notch athleticism, good size and excellent natural strength, Lotulelei has the talent to be an impact play-maker in the NFL. Consistently quick off the ball, Star is able to get into gaps and can jolt and drive OL backwards to disrupt plays behind the LOS. He flashes the ability to anchor against OL run blocks, can toss blocker off him and has a quick burst to the ball carrier to finish the play. While he struggles to get free from double team run blocks, he is able to consistently anchor to clog up the middle on inside runs. On outside runs he gets started towards the ball quickly and has shocking speed for his size to chase play down in pursuit. Although not a versatile pass rusher, his ability to jolt and drive pass blocker backwards into the QB's lap gives him value as a pass rusher. Additionally, he can be productive when he power rushes through the center/guard gap. In addition to physical skills, Star has excellent intangibles.
WEAKNESSES - There are few things that I can point to as negative. When he "bull rushes," he will get upright and high at times during rush and when he does he can be tied up and struggles to get free to pressure the QB. While he flashes the ability to shed run blocks to make tackles on inside runs, he needs to become quicker shedding run block.
SUMMARY - Going from not qualifying academically out of high school to go to BYU, to delivering furniture during that first year not playing football, through junior college and to Utah, Lotulelei has developed a work ethic and determination that is uncommon amongst 300+ pound DT's. For a player who was so highly regarded entering the 2012 season, I was expecting to be disappointed as I usually am by hyped players. However, Star jumped out early in the first game I evaluated against USC and just kept getting better and making more impact plays. He no doubt must become quicker taking on and shedding OL run blocks and needs to improve his pass rush repertoire, but his physical talent is unquestionable. Overall, Lotulelei is going to be a Top 20 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft because he has a rare combination of size, strength, athleticism and competitiveness. I believe that he will be a highly productive starter in the NFL and what position he plays will depend entirely on what team selects him. I think he can be equally effective as a DE in a 34 scheme or a DT in a 43 defense. .