Originally published on SBReport.net on April 24, 2013
After having already decided that the Raiders have a hole at the defensive tackle position when talking about Sharrif Floyd, we of course have to talk about University of Utah's Star Lotulelei.
Lotulelei was the early projected top prospect entering this years draft until a medical exam at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine put a scare into scouts. The medical staff found that the big defensive tackle's left ventricle of his heart was operating at 44-percent, whereas the normal range is between 55 percent and 70 percent, according to NFL.com.
The medical findings decided that Lotulelei could not participate in the combine, causing his stock to fall dramatically.
The 6-foot-two, 311-pound defensive lineman is one of the best, if not the best, run stuffers in this years draft class. He uses his quick feet and big build to push opposing offensive lineman back into the backfield.
Last year as a senior at Utah, Lotulelei racked up 42 tackles, 11 for a loss and five sacks. The year prior, the junior totalled 44 tackles, 9.5 for a loss and 1.5 sacks, earning him the Pac-12's Morris Trophy, given to the conference's best defensive lineman.
His size and speed give him enough versatility to play as a 3-4 defensive tackle or as either inside position in a 4-3.
The main difference between Floyd and Lotulelei is there strongest ability. If the Raiders desire a Warren Sapp-like defensive tackle that can apply pressure in the backfield, than Floyd is there guy. If the Raiders desire a defensive tackle that's strong point is stopping the run, something they haven't done for years, than they should strongly consider Lotulelei.
Granted, I'm sure the Raiders would like to trade down and still take Lotulelei as he will most likely fall past the top-five if the Raiders do not select him.