NFL teams use the draft to add electrifying playmakers. These playmakers come on both sides of the ball, and they can change the game in a single play. Being an electrifying player is about more than pure athleticism; it's also about playing with instincts.
This year's draft features a lot of explosive players who will make an immediate impact in the NFL.
It is believed that the top cornerbacks rarely have their name mentioned, as it shows they have taken a target out of the game. However, the top cornerbacks actually make their presence felt with explosive plays. LSU's Morris Claiborne knows how to make sure everyone knows he is playing in a game.
Claiborne possesses the quickness and ball skills necessary to pull down an interception. When Claiborne gets his hands on a football, special things tend to happen. The St. Louis Rams need a defender who is capable of consistently affecting the outcome of the game.
Baylor's Robert Griffin III used his explosiveness to exploit college defenses and win the Heisman Trophy. His ability to hurt a defense with both his arm and legs makes him a tough player to stop. If you haven't watched Griffin III play, you have missed out on an experience.
Most portray him as a running quarterback, but he makes most of his plays in the deep passing game. Griffin III loves to attack the defense and stretch the field. His long accuracy and touch allow him to consistently make plays down the field.
The Washington Redskins desperately need a quarterback of the future. I doubt Dan Snyder will tolerate another failed veteran quarterback experiment. To land Griffin III, Washington might need to trade up, and luckily Snyder isn't afraid to make a big splash.
Explosiveness isn't always about speed and quickness—sometimes it involves power and leverage. Alabama's Courtney Upshaw uses his power and short-area burst to consistently make plays on the football. His ability to explode into a blocker allows him to gain space and pursue.
Upshaw's closing burst is the most explosive part of his game. He does a great job of disengaging off a block and closing on the ball carrier. That short-area quickness also helps him create pressure on the quarterback. Upshaw is capable of reaching the edge and registering a clutch sack.
The Buffalo Bills need an outside linebacker who can both create pressure and hold up against the run. There isn't a better linebacker in this draft than Upshaw. He would be a perfect fit in Buffalo's 3-4 system.
Football players come in all shapes and sizes, and every now and then we get a player who defies reason. South Carolina's Melvin Ingram possesses such versatility that he seems capable of lining up anywhere on the field. This season he has played defensive tackle, defensive end, outside linebacker and special teams.
The play that best shows Ingram's explosiveness is his fake punt return for a touchdown versus Georgia. When I originally watched the play, I thought it was a running back who was carrying the football. Ingram uses that same athletic ability to make plays on defense.
New York needs to add an outside linebacker capable of bringing some pressure off the edge. Ingram fills that need and much more. Rex Ryan will really enjoy drawing up defensive plays to utilize his versatility.
1. Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck, Quarterback - Stanford
2. Minnesota Vikings - Jonathan Martin, Offensive Tackle - Stanford
3. St. Louis Rams - Morris Claiborne, Cornerback - LSU
4. Jacksonville Jaguars - Justin Blackmon, Wide Receiver - Oklahoma State
5. Cleveland Browns - Matt Kalil, Offensive Tackle - USC
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Alshon Jeffery, Wide Receiver - South Carolina
7. Washington Redskins - Robert Griffin III, Quarterback - Baylor
8. Carolina Panthers- Quinton Coples, Defensive End - North Carolina
9. Miami Dolphins - Riley Reiff, Offensive Tackle - Iowa
10. Buffalo Bills - Courtney Upshaw, Linebacker - Alabama
11. Philadelphia Eagles - Luke Kuechly, Linebacker - Boston College
12. Kansas City Chiefs - Trent Richardson, Running Back - Alabama
13. Arizona Cardinals - Zach Brown, Linebacker - North Carolina
14. Tennessee Titans - Brandon Thompson, Defensive Tackle - Clemson
15. Seattle Seahawks - Landry Jones, Quarterback- Oklahoma
16. Cincinnati Bengals (from Oak) - Dre Kirkpatrick, Cornerback - Alabama
17. Chicago Bears - Michael Floyd, Wide Receiver - Notre Dame
18. San Diego Chargers - Vontaze Burfict, Linebacker - Arizona State
19. New York Giants - David DeCastro, Guard - Stanford
20. Cincinnati Bengals - Cordy Glenn, Offensive Line - Georgia
21. Dallas Cowboys - Janoris Jenkins, Cornerback - North Alabama
22. New York Jets - Melvin Ingram, Linebacker/Defensive Line - South Carolina
23. Denver Broncos - Devon Still, Defensive Tackle - Penn State
24. Cleveland Browns (from ATL) - Whitney Mercilus, Defensive End - Illinois
25. Detroit Lions - Alfonzo Dennard, Cornerback - Nebraska
26. Houston Texans - Kendall Wright, Wide Receiver - Baylor
27. Baltimore Ravens - Mike Adams, Offensive Tackle - Ohio State
28. Pittsburgh Steelers - Mark Barron, Safety - Alabama
29. New England Patriots (from NO) - Ronnell Lewis, Linebacker - Oklahoma
30. San Francisco 49ers - Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback - South Carolina
31. New England Patriots - Kendall Reyes, Defensive line - Connecticut
32. Green Bay Packers - Lamar Miller, Running Back - Miami