Star Lotulelei: DT, Utah
Carolina Panthers – 14th Pick Overall
The Panthers expect DT Star Lotulelei’s combination of size and agility will make him the ideal cornerstone of their defensive line.
5 Random Facts
1. His last name is pronounced LOH-too-LEL-ay.
2. He helped lead Bingham High School to a 14-0 record and the state championship.
3. During his senior year at Utah, he recorded 42 tackles, 5 sacks, 4 pass breakups, 4 fumble recoveries and 3 forced fumbles.
4. Star was the first Utah lineman to be drafted in the first round since 1995 (Luther Ellis).
5. He was born in Tonga.
In an effort to embrace the community, Carolina Panthers DL Star Lotulelei went to his first NASCAR race.
WR Tavon Austin has been getting some reps at RB for the Rams.
Buffalo Bills QB E.J. Manuel has been focusing on improving his footwork.
A name to remember for fantasy football this year is RB Giovani Bernard. Word out of the Bengals camp is that he’s been opening eyes with both runs and catches.
Miami Dolphins first pick, DE Dion Jordan, was one of many players around the league unable to participate in OTAs because his school year was not over yet.
WR DeAndre Hopkins has excelled so far and is already running with the Texans first team.
Jets QB Geno Smith has been working to improve the accuracy of his throws. Additional reps should easily remedy these types of timing issues.
LB Manti Te’o has impressed the Chargers players and coaches so far.
Former rugby player, Lawrence Okoye, has flashed a ton of athleticism in the 49ers camp.
A couple QBs looking good so far are Oakland’s Tyler Wilson and Kansas City's Tyler Bray.
2012 Record: 7-9
I think that Darelle Revis will end up playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 2013-14 season. The Jets are just a complete wreck, and they are wasting their money on positions they do not need. The Jets have 4 quarterbacks on their roster that have started an NFL Game in their career. They signed David Garrard, and so far, Tim Tebow is still on the team, which is a loss of about $7.3 million that could be used to strengthen the team in other areas. The Buccaneers have some cap space and I believe that they have an edge in the race to sign him. Revis would be a good fit in Tampa Bay. The weather is better than New Jersey by far. Also, Coach Schiano is a defensive-minded coach and Schiano was the former defensive back coach of the Chicago Bears.
Tampa Bay is looking to draft the DL, Star Lotulelei, who might end up being like former Buccaneers star Warren Sapp. With Revis and Lotulelei in the mix, the Buccaneers will be tough to beat on defense. And with a young offense including Josh Freeman (25) and Doug Martin(24), Revis could be a huge part of their future success, if he stays healthy.
The Chargers hopes definitely were a little dimmer when they heard Peyton Manning joined the AFC West at the beginning of the season but winning seven games is still just not enough. QB Philip Rivers will need to reenergize this team come 2013.
San Diego Chargers
2012 Record: 7-9
The 2013 NFL Draft is nearing and there is definitely some great talent that could be on your team's roster. Here are my predictions on the first round picks!
1. Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs did a fantastic job by getting Alex Smith from the 49ers for a second round pick. Not only did they get rid of their quarterback problem, but they also saved their first round pick to improve on other needs. Their offensive line was definitely lacking, and with explosive Jamaal Charles at running back, a fairly good Dwayne Bowe catching passes, and now Alex Smith, getting an offensive lineman would complete their offense.
Eric Fisher (OT)
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars are actually in a good position, believe it or not. With young wide receivers that will improve in the coming years and a defense that can easily be turned around, the one thing they inevitably need is a quarterback. In a draft short on young quarterbacks (and Alex Smith gone) I believe the Jaguars will take a surprising route.
Matt Barkley (QB)
3. Oakland Raiders: The Raiders put arguably the worst outside pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Carson Palmer will do for now. What needs to be cleaned up is the defensive end position, especially in a draft with so many available.
Ezekiel Ansah (DE)
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Everything fell apart for the Eagles last year. They simply could not get anything going on either side of the ball. With so many needs, I believe they will draft a linebacker who will make explosive plays on defense.
Jarvis Jones (LB)
5. Detroit Lions: The Lions have a decent quarterback and the best receiver in the NFL. They have Reggie Bush now, but they lack the blocking to get a dangerous running game going. However, with the eighteenth ranked defense, they should work on the defensive side of the ball, particularly defensive end, with Kyle Vanden Bosch being cut and Cliff Avril leaving Detroit.
Dion Jordan (DE)
6. Cleveland Browns: Rookies Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden made a sufficient duo on the offensive side of the ball. Unfortunately, with Sheldon Brown hitting free agency, the Browns will be lacking a cornerback, which is a spot where they did not have much talent in the first place. Get the best cornerback in the draft.
Dee Milliner (CB)
7. Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals have a solid, underrated defense, a top receiver, and an okay running game now with Rashard Mendenhall. A quarterback is one piece they are missing. If they pick up one of the best quarterbacks in the draft (although there are not many of them) they very well may be in the playoffs this year.
Geno Smith (QB)
8. Buffalo Bills: Steve Johnson was able to get over 1,000 receiving yards this year, and C.J. Spiller gave a performance well worth an applause. Creating a frightening defense would be great for the Bills. Start by drafting a defensive tackle.
Sheldon Richardson (DT)
9. New York Jets: Sanchez has not come to the point where he is out of reach of being rescued. He needs more resources to work with. Like the Bills, I believe the Jets should get a receiver, except the Jets will not create any duo. They will simply be putting some good talent into that position.
Tavon Austin (WR)
10. Tennessee Titans: Dee Milliner is probably at the top of Tennessee's draft board. Unfortunately for them, by the time the tenth pick comes around, he will probably be gone. There are other cornerback alternatives though!
Desmond Trufant (CB)
11. San Diego Chargers: Like many other teams, the Chargers offensive line is lacking. Because of the variety of offensive linemen in this year's draft, expect them to pick up one of them in the first round.
Chance Warmack (G)
12. Miami Dolphins: Once again, there are as many offensive linemen in this draft as there are defensive ends. The Dolphins need a player with talent in each position on their roster. In the first round, however, I believe they will pick a defensive end.
Damontre Moore (DE)
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs' secondary was scorched this year after Tampa Bay traded away Aqib Talib and lost Eric Wright due to injury and suspension. To make sure that does not happen again, they should help their secondary, but not if the best two cornerbacks are already drafted. Not to worry. There is plenty of talent elsewhere.
Lane Johnson (OT)
14. Carolina Panthers: The Panthers lone bright spot on defense this year was Luke Keuchly. If they put some other dangerous defensive playmakers around him, Carolina might become one of the better teams in the NFL. They can start by drafting a safety in a league that is starting to depend on safeties more and more.
Kenny Vaccaro (S)
15. New Orleans Saints: With Sean Payton's suspension over, it is likely that Drew Brees will not throw as many interceptions. With a solid running back and multiple receiving weapons for Brees, the offense should not be near the top of the priority list for the Saints in this year's draft. What should be their concern is their struggling secondary. Although the best two cornerbacks are likely to be already drafted at this point, there are still others.
Xavier Rhodes (CB)
16. St. Louis Rams: Rams coach Jeff Fisher has defended his quarterback, Sam Bradford, multiple times by stating they need a better offensive line. More blocking up the middle will give Bradford more time in the pocket. Why pass up the opportunity to pick up a guy who can play center, guard, and tackle?
Jonathan Cooper (C, G, OT)
17. Pittsburgh Steelers: With linebacker James Harrison not coming back to play another year with the Steelers due to the lack of ability to stay healthy and salary, Pittsburgh is also likely to start looking for a linebacker in the draft. My prediction for their selection may surprise you, but after he handled the interviewers at the combine, I believe he deserves a second chance.
Manti T'eo (LB)
18. Dallas Cowboys: As I stated earlier, the safety position is becoming more vital in the NFL. For this reason, I am going to assume the Cowboys have Kenny Vaccaro on their wish list. But if he is gone by this time, they will have to go with another safety.
Matt Elam (S)
19. New York Giants: It is unfortunate that the former Super Bowl champions did not qualify for the playoffs this year. They had the offense and several playmakers on defense. But those players were not enough to have a consistent defense for the Giants. General manager Jerry Reese loves putting good pass-rushers out on the field, and with Osi Umenyiora entering free agency and Justin Tuck having a down year, expect Reese to put another one out on the line.
Barkevious Mingo (DE)
20. Chicago Bears: The Bears, I think, will have a great bounce back year after just missing the playoffs in 2012 due to a second-half meltdown. To make their playoff run longer, they should draft an offensive lineman to give Jay Cutler more time in the pocket. This would make Chicago's deep pass play threat larger. This would also mean that Jay Cutler would not have to scramble as much, which has led to injury several times.
D.J. Fluker (OT)
21. Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals have a solid quarterback, another top receiver, and can squeeze some yards out of BenJarvus Green-Ellis when they want to. To get a middle linebacker would be a good strategy for Cincinnati. By improving their defense, they will get to the playoffs for a third straight year, and perhaps even win a game in there.
Kevin Reddick (LB)
22. St. Louis Rams: Oh look! The Rams get another pick! Well, the linebacker position has been a problem. It would not be logical to pick another offensive lineman, which is one of their big problems, so fix your other big problem.
Alec Olgetree (LB)
23. Minnesota Vikings: Percy Harvin will not be back with the Vikings, and even if he stayed, they have inconsistent receivers to play behind him. Minnesota should draft a wide receiver with good hands.
Keenan Allen (WR)
24. Indianapolis Colts: The Colts did surprisingly well this year, considering they had the No. 1 pick last year. To make themselves even better, they should draft a good cornerback to cover the opposing team's best receiver. It seems as if Indianapolis's option is obvious.
Jonathan Banks (CB)
25. Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawk's defense played tremendously well this year, but they lacked a pass-rusher that could make offensive coordinators go, "So how are we going to stop him today?" That can easily be fixed by drafting the best defensive tackle available.
Sharrif Floyd (DT)
26. Green Bay Packers: I do not think that the decision of cutting Charles Woodson helped the team at all. In fact, I think it actually hurt the team a lot. Now that Woodson is gone, the Packers will need to find a way to replace him. But the fact that they pick twenty-sixth will not give them many players to work with in the draft. Try to get a tight-end since Jermichael Finley might not stay.
Tyler Eifert (TE)
27. Houston Texans: Four players who play the middle linebacker position for the Texans are all questionable as starters for various reasons. There are a few linebackers available in this year's draft, and fortunately for the Texans, one of them should still be around.
Kevin Minter (LB)
28. Denver Broncos: Running back is a good way for the Broncos to go. Denver's starting running back, Willis McGahee is reaching the end of his career, and he needs to pack his bags. There is a possibility that a running back will not be picked in this year's draft by this pick, so the Broncos might get the best one available if they decide to go that route.
Eddie Lacy (RB)
29. New England Patriots: The Patriots have a very good chance of getting a decent defensive tackle. That is fortunate for them since they did not have much of an interior pass rush last year. Get a defensive tackle and improve your defense while leaving Tom Brady to do his magic on the other side of the ball.
Star Lotulelei (DT)
30. Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan has put himself in the position where he is fighting to get into the category of elite. Michael Turner was cut, but I would not worry about the running game. The passing game has Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez. Enough said there. Defensively, the Falcons could pick up an end to improve their team.
Datone Jones (DE)
31. San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers trading Alex Smith for a second round pick was a great move. Now with three picks in the first two rounds and a history of nailing the draft the last two years, expect San Francisco to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity. Strong, athletic, and monstrous. These are the words that describe the defensive end they should take to put on the line with Justin and Aldon Smith backed up by Patrick Willis.
Margus Hunt (DE)
32. Baltimore Ravens: Finally, the pick of the Super Bowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens. Putting an outside linebacker who can cover receivers in a 3-4 defense would be a smart strategy, especially because Baltimore was on the lower side of pass defense rankings and legendary Ray Lewis is retiring.
Bjorn Werner (LB)
Raiders Nation has seen better days but there's still hope ahead as they have the third pick in this years draft and a few very good pieces to build on. Check out our ideas for them for 2013.
2012 Record: 4-12