CHARLOTTE – The Carolina Panthers have selected Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei with the 14th overall pick in GM Dave Gettleman’s first NFL draft.
It marks the first time the Panthers have selected a defensive tackle in the first round since joining the league in 1995.
Defensive tackle was considered a position of need for the Panthers, who released starter Ron Edwards in a salary cap move earlier this offseason.
Lotulelei, 6-foot-2 and 311 pounds, is expected to step in and start right away next to fellow defensive tackle Dwan Edwards, who re-signed in the offseason.
The Panthers finished 10th in the league on defense last season and 14th against the run.
He hails from the same school as two current Panthers stars – Steve Smith and Jordan Gross.