Video cut up Utah DT Star Lotulelei against USC (2012) courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com
The Jacksonville Jaguars have the second overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, which means for the most part their options are wide open as far as who they should pick. The first player we're going to examine is Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei.
|NFL Comparison||Haloti Ngata||Projection||1st|
One of the biggest areas of need for the Jaguars is on the defensive line, which is why a player of Lotulelei's caliber would be so interesting. Lotulelei entered the 2012 season as arguably the best defensive tackle in college football and likely would have been a first-round pick in the 2012 Draft if he had declared.
Lotulelei can fill the role of a classic nose tackle in either defensive scheme, but his quickness and burst off the line of scrimmage makes him an idea player on a 3-4 defensive line because of his versatility. Lotulelei's biggest strength however is his ability to take up space and eat up blockers, freeing others around him to get one-on-one matchups and make plays.
Another one of Lotulelei's biggest assets is his power in the interior. When Lotulelei is matched up one-on-one with an offensive center, he's likely going to push them in the backfield and win the battle with just sheer power. As you can see in his game against USC taking on Khalid Holmes, he's quick off the line and just overpowers Holmes back into the quarterback disrupting the play.
One thing Star seems to do well is penetrating in the backfield and disrupting the play. In the following play, you can see Star just toss Holmes to the side and get into the backfield immediately blowing up the running lane of Silas Redd and stopping the play at the line of scrimmage.
On the next play we'll look at, Star shows his ability to follow the play across the line of scrimmage and close off the running lanes. Here, Star engages the offensive lineman and gets inside position, riding him down the line and cutting in to once again disrupt the play. Star disengages the offensive lineman, knocks the fullback out of the way, and makes the tackle once again.
On the final play we'll look at Star shows some of what he can do in the passing game by collapsing the pocket. He doesn't really have any pass rushing moves outside of his bull rush, which he utilizes on this play. Star engages the right guard off the snap getting under his pads and just walks him into the backfield right into Matt Barkley, forcing Barkely to make a throw quicker than anticipated and firing incomplete.
Star has some mighty impressive plays and has drawn comparisons to Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata. While Star isn't quite Ngata, he's still a good foundation player to build a defense line around. He struggles at times to tackle outside of his body, but should be a disruptive enough player to allow the other defenders around him to make plays. He can control traffic around the football, as shown above, but can wear down at times in games.
If the Jaguars plan on making the switch to a 3-4 defense, Star Lotulelei would make a lot of sense at the second overall pick allowing him to play two-gap or a nose shad position, but he can also fit in a 4-3. His versatility however makes him an ideal fit on a 3-4 defensive line.