Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
Star Lotulelei has been widely considered a favorite candidate for the Raiders number 3 overall pick in April but all of that may have just changed considerably. Star has been asked not to participate in combine drills for defensive linemen due to a heart condition.
After an echocardiogram detected a heart condition for Star Lotulelei, he was asked not to perform in any workouts until after seeing a specialist. He says he expects to be able to perform fully in all of the drills on his pro day March 20th.
The heart problem that was discovered was within the left ventrical. While the pumping efficiency for a normal range is within 55% to 70%, Star's left ventrical is pumping at only 44% efficiency. He will stay in Indianapolis for interviews and then see a specialist some time next week.
The Raiders have had too much bad luck in recent years with their high draft picks. They just can not afford to take a risk with this one. For that reason Oakland must look elsewhere for their pick at number 3. Star is a great player but the Raiders need to be wise here.
This is a major blow to Star's draft stock but its good that he has found this now so that a doctor can do something about it. Maybe there will be enough progress between now and Star's pro day for the Raiders to feel confident enough to draft him but it simply does not seem realistic to expect that anymore.
With this coming to light the Raiders draft is now wide open again. It wasn't a lock that the Raiders were going to draft Lotulelei but it certainly did seem a natural choice for them with the voiding of Richard Seymour's contract.
Sharrif Floyd of Florida is definitely the next best option at the position, although he is more than 10 lbs lighter than Star is. Then again maybe Ohio St's Jonathon Hankins could be a solid choice, although hopefully coming after trading back for whatever the Raiders could get for their pick.
Then again Florida State DE Bjoern Warner may still be there at number 3 or maybe Texas A&M LT Luke Joeckel could fall to them and be tempting. That's not even mentioning the likes of DE Damontre Moore also of Texas A&M or Central Michigan LT Eric Fisher. Like I said, its wide open.
Start thinking again Raider Nation for who you want to see the Raiders draft. Get louder if you were calling for them to draft somebody other than Star Lotulelei already anyway. The draft will still be changing many times before coming to fruition on April 25th but this is the first major shock wave. Let me know if this diagnosis changes your mind on Star (as it did mine) in the comments section.