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Round 1: Carolina Panthers Select Star Lotulelei

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With their first pick in the 2013 Draft the Carolina Panthers select Star Lotulelei

Rarely does a player come along who so thoroughly dominates his competition that he generates buzz across the entire nation despite posting only average statistics and playing in a relatively small media market. That is precisely what 6-3, 318-pound defensive tackle Star Lotulelei accomplished for Utah.

Recognized by Pac-12 offensive linemen as the best defensive lineman in the conference with the Morris Trophy in 2011, Lotulelei posted 44 tackles, nine tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks despite facing consistent double- and even occasional triple-team blocks in 2011.

He battled through the same level of attention from defensive coordinators in 2012, and still earned his second selection to the All-Pac-12 first team. He finished the regular season with a team-high 11 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks to go along with four pass breakups, four fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles.

Lotulelei, who was born in Tonga, is married with a daughter. He prepped at Bingham High School in South Jordan, where he was part of a state championship team.

He then spent two years at Snow College, racking up 52 tackles, 14 for losses, three sacks and a forced fumble in 2008. He attended Snow again in 2009, but did not play football before transferring to Utah.

Lotulelei's once rock-solid status as a top half of the first round selection took a major hit when his medical check at the Scouting Combine revealed a heart issue. He immediately returned home and began undergoing a battery of tests from doctors. Rob Rang reported in early April that Lotulelei had passed the "gold standard" of heart tests, but many teams are likely to remove him from their draft boards nonetheless.

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    • PM If you want the cut.    
    • Play video then scroll down and read during it.   This guy: " Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman very much believes in this year's draft. So much so that he was willing to rationalize the trade of Kony Ealy to the Patriots, which essentially netted him a second-round pick eight slots higher than the third-round pick they included in the swap. "It's a heavy draft and it was an opportunity for us to move up. To you guys, eight spots doesn't seem like much. But to me, it's gold," Gettleman said, via the Charlotte Observer.   Scout's Notebook: Cam must evolve as QB   Free Agency's biggest unanswered storylines   Harrison: All-Under-25 Team   Brandt: Best second-round picks since '12   MJD: Ranking the '17 RB prospects   Players who won free agency   Brooks: Peterson 'just another' RB now   Schein: Each division's favorite, top contender   Rosenthal Why is everyone ignoring Big Ben?   Scouting Report/team fits: Malik Hooker He added: "You've got to give up something to get something. You're not fooling anybody anymore. There's too much film available. We just wanted to move up and get another second-round pick. I think it gives us more flexibility." This was, on the front end, a nice way for Gettleman to distance himself from Ealy without criticizing the dynamic former second-round pick, though it does put the fearless general manager in a precarious position. Rationalizing a trade to move up eight slots suggests there is someone in particular who you are targeting and expect to be there. At the least, it suggests that one of a few people you hope are there can contribute right away significantly. Ealy was not a perfect player, but his ability to get to the quarterback was undeniable. If the Panthers had won Super Bowl 50, there's a chance Ealy would have been named MVP despite playing just a handful of snaps. Carolina already got rid of one exceptional homegrown defensive talent in Josh Norman last year and could see Ealy come back to bite them inside the Patriots' versatile front. Of course, Gettleman isn't afraid of what anyone thinks and has done a nice job getting the Panthers under control since taking over the gig in 2013. He has plenty of equity built up with the Panthers' fan base, but a home run with that second-round pick couldn't hurt. "