Star Lotulelei Scouting Report

February 19th, 2013

Star Lotulelei has star potential as a NFL defensive tackle (photo courtesy Deseret News)

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Prospect: Star Lotulelei
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 320 lb.
Grade: 7.64 (Grading Scale)

Scouting Report:

+Explodes into contact with a sudden first step, consistently the first defensive lineman into contact
+Very nimble feet with quick change of direction ability
+Accelerates quickly in space, impressive athlete at his size
-Occasionally fails to break down in space and misses plays as a result
+Impressive strength throughout, has lower half strength to put blockers on skates and upper half to jolt with initial punch

+/-Doesn’t consistently maintain gap discipline but can make up for it with sheer size and power
-Goes through stretches where ball awareness wanes when taking on blockers, gets caught up trying to get penetration
+/-Generally has an average motor, will ramp things up when producing and has a clear mismatch

Pass Rush:
+Bullrush-oriented pass rusher who can move blockers back into the quarterback and press the pocket
-Lacks counter moves to work off his power rush
+/-Worked in an effective swim move as a senior, still needs work with pass rush repertoire
+/-Mirrors the quarterback effectively when initial pass rush attempt fails, quits on pass rush to try and bat passes too quickly at times though
+Gets hands into passing lanes consistently and in an efficient way with proper timing, productive batting passes

Run Support:
+Consistently makes plays in the backfield by splitting gaps with a quick first step
+Engages the double team with aplomb, has the natural strength and wide frame to keep linebackers clean
+Prevalent ability to stack blockers at the point of attack and work laterally down the line on outside runs
-Occasionally fails to cross the face of blockers to combat directional leverage, instead settles for shooting the backside gap and trying to chase
+/-Ability to shed blocks somewhat inconsistent, has strong hands to control blockers though
+Can spin off of contact quickly for a tackle of his size

+Sinks hips well to lower pad level and win leverage battles in one on one situations
+Exponential improvement of his hand usage as a senior, specifically ability to create separation to disengage
+Fires hands into the chest of blockers and can gain control quickly to overpower
-Occasionally gets lazy with his hands and reverts to sheer power to win, mostly occurs on junior tape

Star Lotulelei truly lived up to all the hype he received before his senior season ever started, which isn’t something that can be said about many prospects. Coming out of high school, he committed to BYU but did not qualify academically. So after spending a year in junior college, he transferred to Utah and took the college football world by storm. Lotulelei is a blend of size, speed, and athleticism that few defensive tackles boast. He dominated many a game to the tune of 6.5 sacks between his junior and senior seasons despite frequently playing through double and triple teams. At the top of his game, he’s simply unblockable. He’s not only a space eater on the inside though. Lotulelei has shown the ability to be a disruptive force in the backfield by splitting gaps or rocking pass blockers onto their heels. His skills fit across any defensive scheme. He may be drafted to hold the nose and occupy two gaps. He may also be drafted to sit in a gap as a 3 technique and disrupt oppenents’ running games consistently with penetration. Either way, he can help a wide variety of teams and in a wide variety of ways. Combine his natural skills with his production and scheme diversity and you’re looking at what should be a top five lock.—Darren Page

Scouting Notes:

Utah vs. Oregon State
• Stands up block effectively and works him down the line mirroring the ball, forces back to cut up into traffic
• Gets stood up trying to bullrush in one on one situation, unable to generate power to press the pocket
• Loops around on a stunt and gets his hands into the passing lane when Cody Vaz throws to bat the ball down
• Consistently handling blocks in the running game but failing to shed and pursue, not getting to the football in the first half
• Struggles to get push as a pass rusher but swallows up the running back going into his route as he tries to run past
• Coming off the field on third and 10+
• Puts the left tackle on skates after a stunt to the outside, perfect hand placement and leg drive
• Breaks through the inside gap of the left guard, fails to bring down the running back in the backfield but does enough disrupt the play

Utah vs. USC
• Khaled Holmes rolls a snap back to Barkley in the shotgun with Lotulelei head up, then fails to connect with Barkley on next drive and snap is fumbled, Lotulelei recovers
• Throws Holmes after he takes a poor first step and shoots into the backfield to throw Silas Redd to the ground
• Plays laterally off Holmes’ block and then again off the block of the right guard to make the tackle on the edge
• Sinks when Barkley leaves the pocket and makes an open field tackle on Marqise Lee as he tries to juke Lotulelei
• Gets too far outside after playing off a block and leaves cutback lane for Redd
• Plays off a poor cut block attempt and gets down the line on a run to the opposite side and makes the tackle five yards downfield
• Moves Holmes back into the fullback on an off tackle lead play and forces the back to cut it up, occupies fullback at the same time

Utah vs. Washington
• Swims off a block and into the face of Keith Price as a pass rusher, forces a dump-off throw
• Splits two blockers on an outside stunt and almost gets a hand to Price’s pass
• Struggles to disengage with block as running back runs to his inside gap while head up
• Splits the A gap after a quick pre-snap shift and comes free, Price gets the ball out in time
• Successfully bullrushing the left guard on a consistent basis, lacks counter move to come free though
• Engages a double team and gets enough movement to fore a cutback to oncoming and unblocked linebackers
• Jumps offside trying to time the snap
• Bullrushes the guard into Price’s lap, disengages effectively when he takes off and wraps him up for the sack
• Engages two blockers on an outside zone allowing linebacker to shoot to outside gap and force the cutback


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