Star Lotulelei impresses in Panthers minicamp

Lance King

The rookie defensive tackle has looked good early after falling in the first round of the NFL Draft.

According to the Charlotte News-Observer, Carolina Panthers first-round pick Star Lotulelei was looking quite good in minicamp earlier this month. That's good news for a team that needs instant impact from its young players along the defensive front.

In the weeks leading up to the 2013 NFL Draft, Lotulelei was positioned as one of the top prospects to come off the board. After some teams were scared off by reports of heart dysfunction, the Carolina Panthers had a "dream scenario" fall to them at No. 14.

Head coach Ron Rivera came to Carolina with a defensive resume, having been the defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers previously. Lotulelei now joins second-year inside linebacker Luke Kuechly in the middle of the defense to form a potentially dominant tandem.

Panthers fans have to be hoping for a return to times when the defensive line was terrific, led by standouts such as Julius Peppers and Kris Jenkins during their Super Bowl season of 2003. Lotulelei is a building block toward that direction, alongside end Charles Johnson.

Last year, the Panthers finished 7-9, tied for last place in the NFC South.

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