Before today I would’ve never guessed that University of Utah star defensive linemen Star Lotulelei would fall to the Green Bay Packers at pick No. 26.
Though there have been some health concerns with Lotulelei (recently 100 percent cleared for football activities) there has been no reason to believe he would fall all the way down to Green Bay in the draft.
For most of the NFL Draft season, Lotulelei has been slotted as a sure top 10 pick. Now all of a sudden he has the potential to fall to the Packers at pick No. 26? I’m not buying it. That is until I read a much-respected sports journalist’s point of view. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King is considered one of the best in the business for covering sports, in particular the National Football League.
King, as of this afternoon, has the Packers selecting Lotulelei at No. 26. King didn’t offer up much analysis for his pick other than saying, “Star is going to be star.” Again, I can’t see Lotulelei falling past the Jets, Saints, Panthers, Chargers or Giants in the first round. Even if he survives past the Giants in the first round, someone will trade back into the first round to snag Lotulelei.
I agree with King that Lotulelei will be a star, (no pun intended) however, for a player as talented as Lotulelei to fall to No. 26, even with the injury history, is too difficult to fathom.
If by some miracle Lotlulelei falls to Green Bay, Ted Thompson is all but guaranteed to select him. Lotulelei is a game changer and will be a Pro Bowl player in the NFL sooner rather than later. He is extremely versatile and is able to play any defensive position. He is also a freak athletically for a guy who is 6-2, 310 pounds. He has tremendous strength, which allows him to be a top-notch run defender. A perfect NFL equivalent to Lotulelei would be Baltimore Ravens defensive linemen Haloti Ngata.
Other scouts have Lotulelei slipping down in their recent mock drafts also, but not to the extent of King. It’s unclear whether scouts don’t trust that Lotulelei’s injuries are indeed clear, or they just aren’t as high on him no as they once were.
Other mock drafts that have Lotulelei slipping include: Mel Kiper Jr.has Lotulelei to the Titans at pick No. 10. Todd McShay has Lotulelei to the Panthers at pick No. 14. Finally, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report has Lotulelei going to San Diego at pick No. 11.
As you can see, three other well-respected draft analysts don’t have Lotulelei escaping the top 14 picks.
It’s unclear what King knows that fans and scouts don’t, but in his last mock draft, Peter King has the Green Bay Packers selecting Star Lotulelei defensive linemen, Utah.