NFL Draft 2013: Showcasing Players Set to Make Immediate Impact

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IMarch 5, 2013

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - SEPTEMBER 15:    Dee Milliner #28 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs the ball against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on September 15, 2012 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Crimson Tide defeated the Razorbacks 52-0.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Thirty-two players will have their name called during the first round of the 2013 NFL draft on April 25, but only a select group of those stars will make an immediate impact at the next level.

Whether it's on offense or defense, goes noticed or not, these players are poised to become more than just your average NFL rookie. Instead, they'll transition from college football stars to first-year NFL difference makers.

Below we'll showcase a trio of first-round prospects set to leave their mark early on in their NFL careers.


Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M, OT

It's certainly not by chance that Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel is being mentioned as the potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft. The 6'6", 305-pound stud has almost zero holes in his game, and looks poised to dominate at the point of attack for years to come.

Although he's only a junior, Joeckel possesses all of the traits that scouts, coaches and executives look for in a first-round selection, and more importantly, in a first overall selection.

There's no question that the former Aggies star is set to make an immediate impact at the next level, even if he doesn't go No. 1 overall. He's got franchise cornerstone potential, thanks to his ability to clear running lanes on the ground while also keeping elite pass-rushers at bay. 

By far Joeckel's most important trait, though, is his awareness. He's a smart and instinctive player on the offensive line, and that looks to suit him well in the NFL.


Dee Milliner, Alabama, CB

Defensive backs are vital to success in today's pass-first NFL, and that's why Alabama's Dee Milliner is set to make his presence early on next season.

Milliner, the hands-down top defensive back coming out of college football in 2013, possesses the ideal cover corner frame at 6'1", 200 pounds, and also boasts a skill set that excites lots of NFL draft scouts. Beyond his physical gifts, Milliner is exceptional at reading quarterbacks and diagnosing plays quickly.

In addition to being able to read plays and use his instincts to his advantage, the former Crimson Tide star is fearless in run support, giving him added value as a potential Top Five pick in this April's draft.

If there's a question mark about Milliner, it's his ball skills. The junior dropped a bunch of balls during combine drills, but it should be pointed out that those workouts are done individually and without pads, plus he ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash.

Come game time, expect Milliner to be ready.


Barkevious Mingo, LSU, DE

A super athletic defender out of LSU, Keke Mingo put up eye-popping numbers at last month's NFL Scouting Combine, impressing scouts and NFL higher-ups with his speed and leaping ability.

At 6'5", 240 pounds, there isn't much Mingo can't do on a football field. He's durable, flexible, fast and tough. He's a sure tackler and plays with great instincts. But perhaps his best trait is his versatility. Although he played a lot of defensive end for Les Miles' Tigers over the past few seasons in Baton Rouge, Mingo could just as easily transition to outside linebacker and be successful.

Wherever he lines up, Mingo's athleticism will steal the show.

You've got to love Mingo's motor as well. Like most first-round prospects, he doesn't take plays off and he doesn't give up in pursuit either. If he can bring that same intensity to the NFL, his impact is sure to be felt immediately. 


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