The Carolina Panthers were in desperate need of help at defensive tackle, and so they weren’t about to let Utah stud Star Lotulelei keep sliding when he dropped to them in the No. 14 spot Thursday night during the NFL draft. Carolina certainly has high expectations for Lotulelei, and Lotulelei clearly has high expectations for Carolina.
Star Lotulelei joined The Drive on WFNZ in Charlotte to discuss being the first defensive tackle drafted, the Panthers’ defense, the team’s playoff prospects and meeting fellow former Utah star Steve Smith.
On why the Panthers made him the first defensive tackle to be chosen in the draft:
“They took me to the classroom just to see how well I could pick up scheme and how fast I could learn, and I think that definitely [played] a big part. We were doing some chalk talk for a good 45 minutes, almost an hour … so I think that had a lot to do with it. And them seeing what kind of person I am off the field. But as far as on the field, I think what separates me from every other defensive tackle in this class is my explosiveness and my strength, being able to hold the point. I feel like those are my biggest strengths that kind of separate me from everyone else.”
On joining a defense with several good young players:
“Their defense is great. They’ve got a bunch of great leaders. So my part is just to come in there and work hard and to produce and to do whatever the team asks of me.”
On if he thinks the Panthers could be a playoff team in 2013: