Star Lotulelei Not Participating at NFL Combine Due to Heart Condition

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

Another top prospect in this year's draft class has suffered a health scare.

The health-related scares for top prospects at the NFL Combine continued on Sunday when ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, projected to be a top-10 pick in April's draft, has a heart condition that will require further testing. As a result, Lotulelei will not participate in drills at the Combine, although he will still be meeting with prospective teams. Mortensen talked about what triggered the alert for Lotulelei:

Lotulelei was discovered to have an abnormally low Ejection Fraction, detecting that the left ventricle of his heart was pumping at only 44 percent efficiency, sources said. The normal range is between 55-70 percent efficiency. ... If it's a confirmed chronic condition, medical experts consider it an indication of possible heart damage.

Yikes. For players like DE Dion Jordan and CB Dee Milliner, their shoulder surgeries are just going to sideline them for a couple of months. With Lotulelei, depending on the results of further tests, his draft stock could drop due to long-term risks. I'm far from an expert on the health risks associated with his condition, though. If we're looking for some optimism, James Christensen from NEPD posted an article regarding his own experience with a similar condition.

The Browns haven't really been projected to draft Lotulelei, but part of that has had to do with the fact that he has been widely projected to be drafted with one of the first three picks of the draft. If the condition causes him to fall to No. 6 overall, should the Browns consider biting?

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