Leading up to the 2013 NFL Combine, many had Star Lotulelei as the top player on their draft boards. A health issue led to a fall in the draft, which led to Ron Rivera and the Carolina Panthers getting a player that perfectly fits their system. Rivera loves to run an aggressive system that hinges on the play of his defensive line being able to penetrate on passing downs and be stout against the run on running downs.
Rivera's defensive philosophy reads like a scouting report for Lotulelei. He is stout against the run and has the quick penetration skills to dominate offensive linemen. The biggest factor for Lotulelei is the depth that the Panthers have along the defensive line, allowing him to take fewer snaps than he did in college, where he played about 90 percent of the defensive snaps.