Top rated defensive lineman has draft stock shattered as it is revealed he has heart condition.
From being rated as the top interior defensive lineman coming into the NFL Combine, it will all change after this news. While through no fault of his own, this heart condition will draw up a lot of red flags and is a cause of concern for many teams.
This kind of condition won’t affect his play, as he probably played all through his college career with this problem and was still able to impress scouts and coaches with his natural ability for the game.
The big problem is that teams will not want to risk a high draft pick on someone who may not be medically cleared to play, or play at a high level on a consistent basis. Why select a player with a potential heart problem when you can pick someone else who can make an instant impact and be reliable when called upon.
It is a harsh league sometime with these kind of decisions being tough to take for someone that hasn’t even played a professional snap yet. He will likely drop down draft boards unless he impresses at his pro-day next month, teams will be concerned about this and Lotulelei must also perform well in the 15 minute interviews that each team will get with him.
Players with heart conditions do produce productive careers in the NFL. Houston Texans running back Arian Foster played all of last season with an irregular heartbeat, yet was still able to rush for over 1,400 yards. Whilst this is something that will concern the Texans, they know how to treat it and will manage Foster to a lesser workload to keep him healthy.
Star Lotulelei will be just fine at the NFL level, but it will be unlikely that he will be drafted as high as he was projected too, which is sad news for for the impressive collegiate player.