NFL Draft 2013: Players Who Will Make an Immediate Impact

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IApril 23, 2013

AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 15:  Safety Kenny Vaccaro #4 of the Texas Longhorns attempts a first quarter tackle of running back Joseph Randall #1 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys on October 15, 2011 at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.  Oklahoma State beat Texas 38-26.  (Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)
Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

NFL teams are always looking for players in the draft who can step onto the field and make an immediate, positive contribution.

The truth of the matter, however, is that there aren't usually many prospects that are ready to become impact players as rookies.

Last year's quarterback class was unusually strong, as three quarterbacks led teams to the playoffs. Their immediate success isn't typical, though, and there isn't a single quarterback in this year's class capable of performing such a rare feat. 

There are players at other positions who are ready to become dynamic playmakers for the teams that draft them, however. These young men are polished, explosive and loaded with elite talent. 


A Trio of Offensive Tackles

Luke Joeckel, Eric Fisher and Lane Johnson are all elite left tackle prospects. 

In fact, it won't be a shock to see all three selected as top-five picks in this year's draft. 

Joeckel or Fisher will likely be selected No. 1 overall by the Kansas City Chiefs. Both players possess elite slide-steps and can run speed-rushers out of plays. Both possess enough strength and leverage to stave off bull-rushers and both possess prototypical size and length to dominate on the left side.

Johnson is not quite as polished as the other two top tackles, but his incredible athleticism could propel him to become the top offensive tackle selected this year when we re-evaluate this class a few years down the road. 

This trio is ready to make an immediate impact for the teams that draft them. They will be immediate starters who will protect their new teams' quarterbacks for years to come.


DeAndre Hopkins and Tavon Austin

There is an incredible amount of depth at the receiver position this year, but there are two receivers who stand out as immediate impact players in 2013. 

Hopkins and Austin both possess traits that will make them instant stars in the NFL, though they couldn't be more different from one another.

Hopkins is a big receiver, at 6'1" and 214 pounds, who runs routes better than many NFL veterans. He isn't as speedy as some of the other top receivers in this year's class, but he possesses excellent hands, a wide catching radius and strength enough to win at the line of scrimmage against bump-and-run coverage.

He gets good separation from his defenders in and out of his breaks, and he'll be a high-volume receiver over the course of his career—a receiver who will quickly become his new quarterback's best friend. 

Austin is a diminutive receiver, at 5'8" and 174 pounds, who is as quick and fast as any player we've seen enter the NFL in years. He ran a 4.34-second 40 at the combine and showed excellent hands throughout his career at West Virginia. 

Though Austin will be limited as a slot receiver and occasional running back, his ability to create space with his quickness will make him a go-to guy in the middle of the field. Additionally, Austin is a phenomenal kickoff returner, and he can score on any play from anywhere on the field. 


Star Lotulelei 

The NFL is an ever-changing league in which teams are now beginning to utilize multiple schemes on defense to account for the wide array of offenses they face throughout the year.

Lotulelei is a player who can excel in any scheme, which makes him a valuable commodity for teams that utilize multiple defensive schemes. 

 A big, strong man, at 6'2" and 311 pounds, Lotulelei is a monster in the trenches. He displayed his strength at his pro day recently, putting up 225 pounds 38 times on the bench.

He's incredibly agile for a man of his size and has the ability to play all across the line in a 3-4 scheme. 

Teams looking for a pass-rusher at the defensive tackle position won't target Lotulelei, but his ability to dominate the point of attack and take on multiple blockers will be a boon for the team that drafts him. 


Kenny Vaccaro and Dee Milliner

These two defensive backs are as pro-ready as any player coming into the league this year. 

Both possess ideal size, athleticism, speed and strength to hold their own against the NFL's top receivers. 

Vaccaro is a rare player who will be highly valued by NFL teams because of his versatility. He can play either safety position, can slide down and become a nickel cornerback and is aggressive at the line of scrimmage against the run. 

Milliner displayed elite speed at the combine, running the 40 in 4.37 seconds. Combined with his ball skills, excellent technique and size, he has the potential to evolve into an All-Pro cover corner capable of shutting down the league's best receivers. 

Both players will be instant starters and will make an immediate and positive impact on the secondaries of their new teams. 


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