When I saw that Lotulelei had elected to spend draft night with his family just as LB Luke Kuechly did a year ago I was pleasantly surprised. Unlike many draft picks, Star has already started his own family as he is already married with children and you could tell from the family's reaction they are a tight-knit group. In my view that fits very well with the Panthers desire to create a football family on and off the field. They appear to covet players with a strong sense of family and hopefully we will see that play out on the football real soon.
Here's a new Panther blogger on the block that is thinking the same way I am at the moment:
I will start off by saying this: Lotulelei comes from humble beginnings. He chose not to attend the draft and stay home with his family. When his name was called he immediately got emotional and hugged his family while simply wearing a t-shirt and shorts, not a designer suit and tie. This is by far the Panthers best pick in the draft. Star can contribute immediately and have the biggest impact in the 2013 NFL season. A couple of months before the draft most thought Lotulelei would be a top 5 pick until a heart condition presented itself at the combine and forced Star out of action. It took the Panthers a mere 30 seconds to lock in their pick. That sends a strong message that they got their guy.
Here's another point Nick makes that runs counter to some of the pre-draft knocks that surfaced on Lotulelei after his heart condition issue. That being that his play was inconsistent at times:
One of most impressive aspects of Lotulelei's game is his durability that is unmatched by any other player in the draft. At times, he played up to 85 snaps per game at Utah. He is 311 pound beast in the middle. He will command a double team every play he is out there. There are qualities that will not show up in the stat sheet.
Pushing the pocket. He may not get 10 sacks this year, but he will consistently make it difficult for opposing QB's to get the ball off cleanly. With Lotulelei's dominance, it might even allow DE's Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy see single coverage at times.
Somebody has to be single blocked. If Star becomes a concern up the middle then you can bet it means less attention will be given to the edge. That is real bad news for QBs on the Panthers schedule.
Ever since we at CSR started tracking Star's heart condition scare here on CSR it has been a case of wishful thinking. But in the end it appears that maybe the false positive test was just what was needed to get a team like the Jets to pass on him for another player. That was all it took for the dream to come true.
If you aren't excited yet then try one last link:
CHARLOTTE, N.C.: Star Lotulelei, the Panthers' first-round pick from Tonga, is a quiet family man - Football Wires - MiamiHerald.com
"Essentially when he's in the game, the inside run game's nonexistent," Whittingham said. After sitting out the combine following his heart diagnosis, Lotulelei did 38 reps in the 225-pound bench press at the Utes' pro day, matching SMU defensive end Margus Hunt's total that was the best among all combine participants.
Whittingham said Lotulelei is an unselfish player who never complained. And though there were louder players in the Utes' locker room, few were better leaders than Lotulelei, a team captain his final two years.
"I'm a real quiet person. I wasn't the rah-rah captain that's going to yell at everybody and try to get them hype like that. I try to lead by example," he said. "Personality-wise, outside of football, just real laid-back, easy to get to know and just a real easy-going guy."
Team captain, leads by example, commands double teams, never complains, strong as an ox, family man. Lotulelei is simply a perfect fit in Carolina... on and off the field.