Viewed as one of the best defensive tackles heading into the 2013 draft, Utah's Star Lotulelei's draft stock dipped after an echocardiogram taken at the NFL Scouting Combine detected an abnormally low Ejection Fraction, according to ESPN.com.
It was later reported by Joe Schad of ESPN.com that the abnormal test result for Lotulelei was likely caused by a viral infection. He was later cleared to participate in football activities without restrictions.
Despite being cleared, the 6'2", 311-pound Lotulelei dropped to the Carolina Panthers at No. 14 in the draft.
He was viewed as a guy with exceptional speed, quickness and agility at the position prior to the draft. He had the ability to not only make an impact in the run game but also in the passing game by applying pressure to the quarterback.
He dominated at times during the season for the Panthers and caused some to question why he ever dropped down team's draft boards to begin with.
He finished the 2013 season with 42 tackles and three sacks and will continue to be a key piece for the Panthers defensive at nose tackle.
Just as Lotulelei had concerns about his health heading into the draft, some have become concerned about Aaron Donald's size heading into this year's draft.
One of the biggest knocks on the 6'1", 285-pound Donald is that is a bit undersized for an NFL defensive lineman. He addressed those concerns about his size at the combine, saying in a press conference (via SI.com), "[My height] is what it is. Thinking about it isn’t going to get me no taller. All I can [do] is go play the game of football the way I play it: hard-nosed, out there trying to make plays."
Comparisons have been made between Donald and the Cincinnati Bengals' Geno Atkins, who is widely regarded as the league's best 3-technique defensive tackle. Atkins was asked if those comparisons were true and told Peter King of TheMMQB.com, “Yes, definitely. He has the tool set and skills to be a dominant three technique: motor, speed, leverage and strength. I’m definitely looking forward to see what he does in the league.”
Lotulelei and Donald are different types of players at defensive tackle, but both were labeled with questions marks heading into the draft and there is no reason to believe that Donald cannot have the type of impact in his first year that Lotulelei had.