Eagles Hosted Star Lotulelei Yesterday; Johnson Next

Utah DT Star Lotulelei likes to play nose tackle, but has enough versatility to contribute as a 3-4 DE.

Adam Caplan confirmed that the Eagles brought in Utah defensive lineman Star Lotulelei for a pre-draft visit. Each NFL team is allowed a maximum of 30 pre-draft visits. Prospects can only stay for one day, and cannot be physically tested or worked out. Local prospects do not count against the 30 visits.

Lotulelei is a strong candidate for the Eagles’ fourth overall pick. At 6’3″, 311 pounds, Lotulelei’s thickness and natural power makes him perhaps the best prospect against the run in this year’s draft class. At Utah, he was double-teamed on a consistent basis and rarely budged off the line of scrimmage. Lotulelei isn’t much of a pass rusher, but can collapse the pocket when he gets proper leverage and drives his blocker into the quarterback’s lap.

Lotulelei was unable to work out at the Combine because medical tests revealed an under-performing heart. Since then, he has passed nine heart tests and has been given a clean bill of health. Besides health concerns, other knocks on Lotulelei have mostly focused on his motor. Some analysts have questioned his effort, but he’s a 300+ pound man who played a staggering 87% of snaps for Utah while facing nearly constant double teams. Most players would wear down under those circumstances, and he will not be used quite so heavily in the NFL.

In the Eagles’ scheme, Lotulelei has enough versatility to play any of the three defensive line spots. He prefers to line up at nose tackle, but would most likely play defensive end across from Fletcher Cox with the Eagles. The addition of Isaac Sopoaga and Lotulelei would give the Eagles a much bigger and stouter defensive line while sacrificing a bit of pass rush ability. Lotulelei would not be my first choice to take with the 4th overall pick, but I would be happy with the selection. He’s an immensely talented player who can contribute immediately in Philadelphia.

Tomorrow, the Eagles are scheduled to bring in Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson for a visit. He’s another top 10 prospect who the Eagles are expected to consider for their top choice in the upcoming draft.

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