Eagles Wake-Up Call: Star Lotulelei To Visit Birds

Howie Roseman said recently that he generally views the owners meetings as the transition point from free agency to the draft.

Now that the meetings have wrapped up (props to T-Mac for killing it with his coverage in Phoenix), it’s just about time to get into full draft mode.

Which brings us to today’s focus: Star Lotulelei.

We profiled Lotulelei back in February, but a lot has happened since then. Most notably, medical tests at the Combine revealed that the Utah DT had a heart abnormality. But according to The Salt Lake Tribune , the hope is that the issue was just caused by a virus and is not more serious.

“I came out of it with everything good,” Lotulelei said. “I played here three years and in high school and nothing ever happened. I was shocked and wanted to work out with the best of the best [at the Combine], and it was disappointing I didn’t get to work out. But everything happens for a reason, so I came out today and gave it my all.”

Lotulelei told reporters he only has one visit scheduled so far, and it’s with the Birds.

With size (6-4, 314) and versatility, Lotulelei has two qualities that Chip Kelly clearly covets on defense. He could play defensive end opposite Fletcher Cox when the team is in a 3-4 alignment. And he could turn into an interior pass-rusher in sub packages. Lotulelei has the size to play nose tackle too.

Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com, a former scout for the Eagles, recently mocked Lotulelei to the Birds at No. 4:

The Eagles have focused on getting bigger on the defensive side of the ball. The trio of Isaac Sopoaga, Fletcher Cox and Lotulelei would be tough to run against.

There are several players who the Eagles could consider at No. 4, but Lotulelei is in the conversation.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Kelly talked about DeSean Jackson, science, size on defense and the Schuylkill.

He also discussed having to operate without an established franchise quarterback.

The Eagles will work out Florida State QB E.J. Manuel, plus good news on Jason Peters.

Tim rounds up some of the buzz on Cary Williams, Connor Barwin and others.

And a draft profile on another potential target for the Eagles at No. 4: Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Joe Banner says he and Jeffrey Lurie have patched things up. Courtesy of Paul Domowitch of the Daily News:

“[Our relationship] is different [now]. We were together for 18 to 19 years. Now we talk occasionally, text occasionally. So it’s different, but it’s friendly.

“We’ve been friends for 44 years. We’ve been too close for too long to let a moment like that change the long history that we have.”

Tommy Lawlor over at Iggles Blitz doesn’t see the Eagles taking Geno Smith with the fourth pick:

If things change and Smith is the pick, you can all beat me over the head with my prediction, but I don’t see the match.  When you draft a QB early, you’re looking for a star QB.  I see Smith as a future NFL starter, but I don’t see him as anything special.  Would he be an upgrade on Nick Foles?  Probably, but not definitively.  Before you go nuts and rant against me, remember all the sure-fire QBs who haven’t panned out: Joey Harrington, JaMarcus Russell, Matt Leinart, Akili Smith, Ryan Leaf, David Carr, etc.  Those guys won trophies and bowl games and deserved to be high picks.  They all failed miserably.  Foles is far from a sure thing, but he has shown that he can be a functional player in the NFL.  Smith is a total unknown.

COMING UP

A bunch of posts planned, including an All-22 look at James Casey.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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