Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE
National Football Post's Russ Lande has the early pick for No. 1 overall falling to Pittsburgh at 17.
It's pronounced LOW-too-lel-ay.
Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei was widely known as the likely No. 1 pick until the NFL Scouting Combine, at which it was revealed Lotulelei has a heart condition in which his left ventricle wasn't pumping as much blood as what is considered normal.
That has caused him to fall off quite a bit, and while there's still plenty of time for him to be cleared and move back up draft boards (his talent is undeniable), for now, 17 doesn't seem impossible.
Close, but not entirely.
The only issue would be how well he would fit within the Steelers scheme.
He looks like the kind of player who will be good enough to get on the field in any defense, but he seems more fit for a 5-technique defensive end spot in a 3-4 defense.
It may be too early to cast off underwhelming former first round pick Cameron Heyward, but Lotulelei would be an outstanding value pick at 17 - assuming he's medically cleared to play at a high level, and he falls that far.
Neither of those are 100 percent sure things right now, and it seems one would cause the other - with a clean bill of health, it seems highly unlikely he'd fall that far, and if he's a medical concern, it's a reach to justify selecting a position that's been the target of two first round picks since 2009 with the No. 17 pick.
More of the question would be whether they could see him playing either the nose or the 5, and in that, could utilize his high motor and athleticism in dual roles.
It's still an intriguing option, one that's worth following.