Star Lotulelei Selected No. 14 by Carolina Panthers
When the Carolina Panthers crafted their ideal scenario for Round 1 of the 2013 draft, it had to look something like this. Boasting a defense lacking in talent up front, the Panthers found themselves with their choice of either Star Lotulelei or Sharrif Floyd — both arguably top-five talents, when compared to the rest of this class.
They chose the former, Lotulelei, a player who showed the potential to dominate along the interior line.
The big red flag for Lotulelei in the draft process came from concern over a possible heart condition at the combine. But Lotulelei tested out well medically after that and performed at full-bore during his pro day.
He’s also, to drop an NFL draft buzzphrase, “scheme versatile,” meaning that he’s athletic enough and talented enough to fit in any defense. For the Panthers, that versatility means that they can work Lotulelei into the lineup at multiple spots along the line. And if his days at Utah were any indication, he’ll produce.
Grade: A-plus. When you combine value and need, it’s hard to do any better than Carolina did here.