Star Lotulelei has a heart condition

Hard to say how this effects his draft stock, although suddenly that issue is barely significant. According to his agent he’ll work out at the Utah pro-day on March 20th. He could have surgery to rectify the problem and make a swift and full recovery. It could potentially improve his quality of life and be no issue at the next level. But it’s something teams will look into.

In other news…

The defensive linemen completed the bench press drill tonight. You can see the results here, although a lot of high-profile pass rushers didn’t take part (Sharrif Floyd, Johnathan Hankins etc). Margus Hunt and Brandon Williams both managed 38 reps. Sheldon Richardson and Jesse Williams had 30 reps (excellent for Richardson). DaMontre Moore had 12 reps.

Jason La Canfora is reporting that a trade for Alex Smith between San Francisco and an unnamed team is essentially complete. It cannot be rubber stamped until the new league year begins on March 12th. Several members of the media present at the combine have speculated that Kansas City would trade for the 49ers quarterback. Smith for the Chiefs? It almost seems like a foregone conclusion at this point. Compensation is unlikely to be much more than a 4th or 5th round pick.

Randy Starks is likely to be franchise tagged, according to Gregg Rosenthal. He could’ve been one of the few free agents Seattle went after. A terrific run defender for his size, Starks can also penetrate and collapse the pocket. This would be a wise move by Miami.

Bob McGinn from the Journal Sentinel is quoting the opinions of unnamed scouts on certain prospects. You can read into this whatever however you want, but McGinn made a similar post last year absolutely hammering Robert Griffin III. Sometimes scouts have an agenda, whether it’s to lower a guy’s stock or whatever. So this might be a lot of hot air. It’s interesting to read, nonetheless.

If you missed it earlier, don’t forget to check out Day Five of the combine as it happened.


  1. Colin

    Wow. This could be a real deal breaker.

  2. pqlqi

    isn’t this a guy that has “taken plays off” and hasn’t been an every down player. This could certainly explain an endurance issue.

    He is going to need a serious workup (evalutation of coronary arteries, monitoring for arrythmia) and if it’s not a temporary problem, it’s unlikely a team would spend any significant draft capital on a player with left ventricular dysfunction – it’s a predisposing factor for sudden cardiac death and not only a potential waste of draft capital, but a liability issue for the team and league.

    Hopefully, his condition is a transient/reversible probelm. Best wishes for Star Lotulelei.

    • Rob Staton

      I’ve just done a quick google search on the issue, and it appears it can be rectified with an operation. I suppose even if this supports that flow of blood from the heart, his career may still be in jeopardy. Hard to tell what this means for his stock. Kind of feels bad even talking about that right now, but such is the reality of the draft.

      • pqlqi

        Such a surgery is a very serious procedure, and carries relatively high risk for morbidity and mortality. In the absence of significant symptoms of heart failure, I think performing such a procedure electively so a patient “who is otherwise 100% functional” could have the potential to play professional sports would pose a difficult ethical dilemma.

        I guess we know too little to speculate. Again, I wish him the best.

  3. Rob Staton

    Meanwhile, Jason La Canfora is reporting that a trade deal for Alex Smith between San Francisco and an unnamed team is essentially complete.

    Interesting times. He’s been heavily linked with Kansas City during the combine. No smoke without fire, it seems.

    • Trudy Beekman

      If KC gets Alex Smith and Barkley doesn’t do well at his Pro Day, I wonder if this creates any kind of Geno Smith trade market.

      • Rob Staton

        Maybe, but when’s the last time a quarterback had a negative pro-day? They are manufactured to be good.

    • E

      No team should be helping out SF by giving them more draft picks. They already have 14 picks expected for 2013. KC has high picks too.

      Why not just wait it out until Smith is released? Is Alex Smith any different than Mark Sanchez, except that he has a good team around him?

  4. Barry

    Well first hope its something that wont effect his long terms health. Second You guys need to stop hyping the depth of this draft, we are losing top prospects at a alarming rate!

  5. nick

    My guess. He has a congenital bicuspid aortic valve. These tend to calcify early in age (although this is early/extreme presentation). Over time your heart has to pump harder than the typical heart. This leads to hypertrophy. There are two types, eccentric (dilation) and concentric (thickening). He would have the latter. The normal ejection fraction is around 65%. this measures the volume of blood in the ventricle left after systole (when the major chamber in your heart contracts) a decreased Ejection fraction often occurs in concentric hypertophy i.e. thickening of the ventricular wall.
    could be a big deal, or he has been on a diuretic to cut weight and his intravascular volume is depleted. (unlikely)
    I am sure there could be a hundred other explanations, I am not a cardiologist. In closing. This does not sound good.

  6. nick

    Ive you havent already look up.
    Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. It is common in african american males. Most common reason for unexpected sudden cardiac arrest in athletes.

    • Rob Staton

      Thanks Nick, invaluable info. I’ve heard positive and negative things over this news. Not sure what to make of it.

    • Chavac

      His EF would be elevated, not decreased, and would have been picked up on sports physicals a long time ago. 44% is low but it’s not low low, I’ve seen several marathon runners with EF’s below that, and his ability may actually improve with treatment. There are many different things that could be causing this and essentially it’s impossible to know what this means until it’s been worked up. Considering they must have done an echo at the combine, I assume there are no structural defects to his heart.

  7. nick

    This is terrible news. I really feel for the guy. I hope he will be ok.

  8. nick

    There was a player for the Gonzaga Basketball team that was eventually drafted by the Lakers. In the physical exam process they detected an enlarged aortic root/dissection. A life threatening condition. He ended up getting surgery and still plays in the league. I saw him get dunked on the other day.
    This scenario with Star seems much less serious at the present time but equally career threatening.

    • Cameron

      Ronny Turiaf.

  9. nick

    I was incorrect earlier, he most likely has a dilated ventricle with eccentric hypertrophy.

  10. LantermanC

    If you’re DaMontre Moore, why do you even do the bench press? Why not just decline that portion and have teams assume you can do 20 reps? 12 is rather pathetic for a 200 pounder. Not saying it means he’s a bad football player of course (though I suppose you can always argue it the other way and say that some scouts will say “just imagine how good he will be if he builds his strength up to a “normal” level.”)

    • Barry

      DaMontre Moore’s 12 reps hurts him. As a great player he doesn’t explode at you when you watch him. I haven’t seen the rest of his drill numbers but his stock seems to be slowly going down, since topping out at near the top mid season.
      You right LantermanC- why participate in the bench at the rate he must have known he would count out at? It worries me due to seeming to not have top end athleticism and production would speak to a blue collar style of player. 12 reps say something otherwise.

      I still love the guy and his production and would pry spend a high pick on him. But at this point I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up in the second round the way things are going.

      I think a lot of personnel guys expected Hunt to test well here, but still helps anytime you put up 38 reps as that long of a player. Might be enough to push him back into the first round again.

  11. Rob Staton

    I’ve updated the post with news on Randy Starks potentially getting franchise tagged in Miami.

    • bjammin

      That is disappointing news for me. Was hoping they solve perhaps most important need right away. Of course, no guarantee we’d be highest bidder or that he’d even come here. Still, he was in my mind. Not official yet, but damn. How likely would it be that they resign Branch, Rob?

      • bjammin

        And with news about Star, musical chairs are being taken on DTs already. Could make upgrading 3tech even harder as options shrink.

      • Rob Staton

        It could definitely happen, even if it’s just as security.

  12. Madmarkus

    With everything in this article thats happened we will probably be resigning branch and drafting a DT in the 1st if not 2nd round. If we want Khaseem green we might have to trade to move up in the 2nd to get him.

    • Kenny Sloth

      This is what I was thinking.

    • Madmark

      I don’t like it but i think Kawan Short at 25 don’t think he’s there at 55.

  13. Kenny Sloth

    he could fall to the Seahawks. Maybe even to the second round

  14. Kenny Sloth

    Stansly Maponga from Texas Christian looks like a possible late round LEO prospect

    • Trudy Beekman

      Yes … yes he does. Just watched that K-State tape and it is pretty awesome. Very good, borderline great burst off the snap and flashes great anticipation. Showed some great power in his bullrush, very effective spin and swim moves, and was good maintaining the edge in run support. Didn’t see many plays where he beat his blocker off the edge with his speed, but he reminded me of a more polished, less physically freakish Ansah. Projected on CBS to be a 6-7 round guy, but if his other tape looks anything like this, I would love him in the 4th. Might fall that far because he’s a tweener in most other schemes. Good find.

    • Trudy Beekman

      Here’s Rang’s take:

      While shorter than scouts would prefer, Maponga — like Fields and a host of prior Patterson-coached pass-rushers in recent years — is a natural edge rusher. He is quick off the snap, shows good flexibility to react to cut blocks and is more stout at the point of attack than his size might indicate due to his natural leverage advantage and good upper strength. Maponga also shows strong, active hands, which he uses well to defeat blocks and knock the ball free. He has forced seven fumbles over the past two seasons.

      While the Zimbabwe-native Maponga has shown many of the traits talent evaluators look for in a pass rusher, the relative lack of success former TCU edge rushers (Jerry Hughes, Bo Schobel) have enjoyed in the NFL could give decision-makers pause on draft day. Maponga will have to ease scouts’ concerns about the health of his leg and is electing to enter a draft class already loaded with plenty of intriguing hybrid pass-rushers. – Rob Rang,

  15. Dan

    There has been talk of the Hawks being interested in Alex Okafor and Datone Jones. Both guys seem to fit the same mold. Possibly a 5-tech, maybe a pass rush specialists at the 3-tech until they add weight. What do you guys think of this? IMO they’re just checking all their options, but it could mean they’re looking to resign Branch and let Jason Jones go. Who knows..

    • Trudy Beekman

      Datone Jones is a monster, but I can’t justify taking him in the 1st Round as he doesn’t clearly fit into our scheme outside of a Jason Jones replacement. Okafor is a bit overrated, doesn’t fit our scheme very well at all, and shouldn’t go before our pick in round 2 IMO.

    • Rob Staton

      Okafor is 260lbs so he’ll have to play the edge. Not a great speed guy (won’t perform at the combine, surprise surprise) but he has good hand use and technique. I think he has to play left end in a 4-3. As much as I like Datone Jones, it’s hard to work out where he plays at the next level.

  16. mjkleko

    RE Fluker from the McGinn profiles,

    “His (expletive) is bigger than a coffee table,” another scout said. “He’s got huge legs. He doesn’t have much fat on him at all and he’s got some nastiness to him.”

    No comment.

  17. Trudy Beekman

    If Lotulelei were to somehow experience a Da’Quan Bowers type drop and be there for us at 25 after being cleared to play and expected to be good to go …. Oh man. Play him at 1, 3, or 5-tech in base and at 1-tech in Nickel and suddenly … dynasty.

    • Colin

      Don’t say that! Da’Quan bowers dropped for a reason… he hasn’t played worth shit since going to Tampa… we want Star, if he drops, to be a star.

      • SunPathPaul

        Good one! Let’s hope all our draft picks are Stars!! : )

  18. Madmark

    Was checking my first mock draft in January
    Deandre Hopkins 1st – 25 – WR
    Kawan Short 2nd – 55 – DT
    Gavon Escobar 3rd – 87 – TE
    Nickell Robey 4th – 120 – CB
    Zavier Goodsen 5th – 131 – OLB
    Jordon Hill 5th – 152 – DT43
    Joe Kruger 6th – 173 – DE43
    Rick Wagner 6th – 183 – ROT
    Devin Street 7th – 197 – WR
    Damon Stafford 7th – 216 – FS
    Now the combine has come and gone its really not hard to see this happening even thou I’ve changed focus its still and option. Alot of the player have of course improved and moved up the chart.

    • Don

      I hope the Hawks get that lucky on those picks.

      I don’t see it happening. Hopkins most likely will be gone by 25, as will Patterson. It will either be Austin or Allen. I personally like Austin the best.

      Short will be gone by #55. And you can kiss Escabar goodbye, probably the 3rd best TE in the draft.

      Probably get Green at #25, boring, underwelming. PC is defensive minded and has always drafted defense in the first round. Austin or Hopkins would have more benefit in generating points than Green or Short would at preventing points.

      Probably pick up a second tier WR like Justin Hunter or Stedman Bailey at #55.

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