2013 NFL Draft: Defensive Players Who Will Make Immediate Impact at Next Level

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2013

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 20:  Manti T'eo #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish encourages the crowd to cheer against the BYU Cougars at Notre Dame Stadium on October 20, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated BYU 17-14.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

This NFL season, there were a number of offensive rookies that helped teams with their playmaking ability. Next year, it will be the defensive players that stand out.

While the class of quarterbacks and even running backs is not as strong as last season, the list of top-level defensive talent is as strong as ever.

Specifically, these players should be able to step right into a starting job next year and make an impact right away.


Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

When he is at his best, there is very little you can do to stop Bjoern Werner. 

The big German totaled 13 sacks on the year, 7.5 of them coming in two games. He was such a threat that he caused opposing teams to lose 116 yards with his sacks, more than anyone else in the nation.

Werner has a non-stop motor that allows him to get the better of some of the top tackles at the college level. With his size and athleticism, there is no doubt he will be able to replicate this at the next level.

Watch for him to rack up double-digits sacks as soon as he enters the league.


Manti Te'o, ILB, Notre Dame

Manti Te'o did not exactly fly under the radar during this college football season. He was a Heisman finalist, an All-American, plus a winner of numerous awards.

Still, the linebacker deserves all of this attention and more.

Te'o is one of the most versatile players in the nation. He has the ability to stop the run up the middle, as well as anywhere from sideline to sideline. 

In addition, he is arguably the best linebacker in the country at dropping into pass coverage. He totaled 11 passes defended with an incredible seven interceptions this year.

Luke Kuechly helped transform the defense of the Carolina Panthers this year thanks to his ability to cover almost the entire field. One lucky team will get that next year in Te'o.


Damontre Moore, DE, Texas A&M

In the new era of hybrid players on various defenses, Damontre Moore is exactly what every defensive coach should be looking for.

The Texas A&M star can play with his hand down as a defensive end or stay active as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Either way, he is going to get into the backfield and cause some major disturbances. 

Moore had a solid year with 12.5 sacks, but he is more than just a pass-rushing specialist. He is very good against the run and led his team with 80 tackles, including 20 for a loss.

He is the type of player that can ruin an entire offensive gameplan and will transform whatever defense he joins into one of the top units in the league.


Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia

Few expected Aldon Smith to have the kind of impact that he has provided the San Francisco 49ers over the last two seasons, but 33.5 sacks have changed people's opinions.

Jarvis Jones can be as good as a pass-rusher off the edge for his next team. He led the nation with 14.5 sacks this season after totaling 13.5 a year ago. He was named a first-team All-American in both years.

He is also solid against the run and can even help in pass coverage, but his ability to get to the quarterback is what will make fans fall in love with him.

Once Jones gets a chance to play, he will throw even the better NFL quarterbacks out of their rhythm and change games.