Plenty of players were taken in the 2013 NFL draft, but only a few will come in and become instant game-changers for their teams.
Some teams brought in guys that will become starters as early as Week 1, but there are those prospects that will be even bigger than that. These are guys who will be major contributors and even potential Pro Bowlers.
With so many impressive players taken, here are a few that will make the biggest impact.
Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
The Packers haven’t had a 100-yard rusher in 43 consecutive weeks, by far the longest current streak in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers has been asked to carry the offense without a real running game for several years now.
That will all change with Eddie Lacy.
Somehow Lacy was still available at the end of Round 2, and the Packers didn’t hesitate to pick him up. At 230 pounds, he is a strong back that can carry the load for the team as well as stay in and block. He can finish through defenders, gaining extra yards, and can even make plays in the passing game out of the backfield.
After having a nearly absent running game, the Packers will now have an exciting one with the additions of Lacy and even Johnathan Franklin. This team will now be a dual threat on offense, and that should make the rest of the NFL very scared.
Tavon Austin, St. Louis Rams
Before the draft, the Rams really didn’t have anyone to play wide receiver. Names like Brian Quick and Chris Givens topped the depth chart, and something needed to quickly be done about that.
The Rams made sure to get the guy they wanted by trading up and getting Tavon Austin, arguably the most exciting prospect in this year’s draft. With his blazing speed, Austin will excel in the slot by burning the secondary. With the ball in his hands, he does a great job of getting yards after the catch and taking off for big plays.
This was a no-brainer for the Rams. Without anyone to throw to, Sam Bradford was going to have a frustrating season in 2013. Now with the additions of two Mountaineers in Austin and Stedman Bailey, this offense got a lot more interesting.
Star Lotulelei, Carolina Panthers
The defensive tackle position may not be the most appealing, but a really good player in the middle of the defense can completely turn a team around.
The Panthers got just that in Star Lotulelei.
There was plenty of debate before the draft as to who was the better DT prospect between Lotulelei and Sharrif Floyd. The Panthers couldn’t have been more right with their selection of Lotulelei.
What makes Star such a “star” is his power and versatility. He was able to play all over the defensive line at Utah and could get into the backfield from anywhere. He was consistently able to wrap up ball-carriers that came into his area thanks to his big arms. His reaction time is incredible, as seen here against USC.
The Panthers made a great choice bringing in Lotulelei. Adding him to a defense that’s been rebuilding for the past few seasons will improve it even further, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him in the Pro Bowl as early as this season.