With the Bills turning their focus to getting their franchise quarterback if possible in the 2018 NFL draft, there will be a need to maximize their middle and late round picks for contributors. With the defensive line currently being rebuilt in the middle, there will be a need to buttress the space-eating ability of Star Lotulelei, as well as adding a younger option behind Kyle Williams. Star may have the first option covered for Buffalo with his younger brother Lowell.
Lotulelei had a rough 2017, which also will lower his stock going into the 2018 draft. 16 tackles, 3.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks do not scream “draft me” but his game in 2016 (28 tackles, 8 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks) gives hope that his senior year aberration can be off-set in the NFL.
Lotulelei is 6-foot-2 and 320 pounds, remarkably similar to his brother in terms of frame. While Star’s production got him into the first round of the NFL draft, Lowell’s apparent lack of motor in 2017 will lead many teams to push him down their boards, which plays into Buffalo’s hand quite nicely.
Lotulelei is a load, and while he didn’t show the motor his 2016 games did consistently, his ability to force double and at times triple teams makes life easier for his line-mates:
As I mentioned earlier, whether it was injury, work ethic or an unknown issue – Lotulelei in the right system/mindset is a bear to keep off of running backs, particularly in a rotation.
Pass Rushing Ability
A surprise when watching Lotulelei pass rush is that he can turn the power into a little bit of speed to finish the mission. While it’s rare – and because of his draft status not consistent – good coaching can make him an adequate third down option if a better player needs a play off.
Potential Fit with Buffalo Bills
For Buffalo, Lotulelei would serve as a solid backup to his brother Star at one technique, which would serve two outstanding side effects: first, Star’s value and efficiency can only be maximized; and secondly, with Star there to mentor him, I’d bet on Lowell having a good transition to the NFL – and the work ethic it takes to be successful there. With a late round flier, the Bills would ensure they got Lotulelei the younger without having to bid against themselves in undrafted free agency.
Prediction: Round 6 or 7