Carolina Panthers 2013 NFL Draft Review

Star Lotulelei

Star Lotulelei fits the bill as a “hog molly” as general manager Dave Gettleman calls the defensive lineman, a space eater that commands double teams. Explosive in his play, he has a good base leverage and lower strength with knee bend to hold the point. He plays with good core strength and balance and has two gap ability. He is projected to start at nose tackle in a four-man front scheme shifting between even and odd fronts. The big man gets vertical push and was a dominant force even though he rarely came off the field at Utah. He uses his hands and arm extension to his advantage. Kawann Short is “hog molly” number two. A power player, he will compete with Dwan Edwards for a defensive tackle starting spot. At worst, this tough and aggressive leverage player will give the Panthers a nice interior rotation. This thick-bodied inside player can hold his ground and stack a double team. Ultra productive in his four year starting career, he nailed down 49 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks, all from the inside while fighting combination blocks. He also broke up 14 passes and blocked four kicks in his career. He is one of the few interior linemen in the 2013 draft who can rush the passer from the inside. Edmund Kugbila played at Division II Valdosta State where he was a dominant player in the conference. A developmental prospect, he will back up 2012 second-round pick Amini Silatolu at left guard. He is physical in a power blocking run scheme. He stays on his feet with good balance to keep his base and control his target. In the run game he gets push up front, but will need work as an NFL pass protector. He has long arms and big hands. Multiple position linebacker AJ Klein will compete at the “Sam” spot playing over the tight end. Productive over his career, he had three straight years of over 100 tackles. Four of his five interceptions were returned for touchdowns. He also broke up nine passes while in coverage. He has good lateral quickness, plays square, and is quick to turn and run to the perimeter to cut off the ball carrier. In 2011, the intense, tough, and physical linebacker was the co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. He will be a core special teams’ player. Kenjon Barner rightfully so was a standout in mini camp and OTAs because that’s what fast and quick guys do in shorts. He showcased his elusiveness during pass catching drills and was impressive in space. He’s a changeup rotation type back who is explosive to and through the hole. On wide running plays he follows and utilizes his blocker. A game breaker, he can score from anywhere on the field. He has been a willing blocker on blitz pickups, but needs more strength and ballast to hold his ground. GRADE: AVERAGE.

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