Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, a projected Top 5 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, will not be allowed to work out with the rest of the defensive lineman at the 2013 scouting combine after an echocardiogram revealed a heart condition that requires further medical testing, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported on Sunday.
According to Mortensen, the echocardiogram showed that Lotulelei has a low Ejection Fraction and the left ventricle of his heart was pumping at an efficiency rate of 44 percent, well below the normal rate of 55-70 percent. Lotulelei will undergo further medical testing in Salt Lake City.
The 6-foot-2, 311-pound Lotulelei was a two-year starter for the Utes, posting 107 tackles, including seven sacks and 21.5 tackles for a loss. Most of that production came over the last two seasons as Lotulelei was named first-team All-Pac-12. In 2011, Lotulelei was voted the Pac-12's top defensive lineman, an award voted on by opposing offensive linemen. A byproduct of that honor was additional attention from opposing offensive coordinators, who often double- or triple-teamed the disruptive Lotulelei, who posted five sacks on the season.
A poor medical report can drop a player out of the top of the draft as NFL teams will be wary of guaranteeing more than $10 million to a player with a red flag for a medical issue. In the 2011 NFL draft, Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers was projected to be among the first five selections, but concerns over his surgically repaired knee knocked him out of the first round entirely, landing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the middle of the second round. Instead of signing a four-year, fully guaranteed worth between $18.4 million to $22.025 million, Bowers signed a contract worth a total of $3.855 million with $2.229 million in guarantees.
Lotulelei's agent, Bruce Tollner of Rep1Sports, expects his client to conduct a full workout at his pro day on March 20, Mike Garafolo of USA Today reports.