2013 NFL Draft: Underrated Skill Players Who Will Be Immediate Offensive Weapons

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistJanuary 1, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24:  Theo Riddick #6 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish rushes past Dion Bailey #18 of the USC Trojans during a 22-13 win at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 24, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The 2013 NFL draft doesn't feature many bonafide stars on offense, so teams will have to search deeper for skill players who can make an impact.

Players will be there too. These guys may not jump out at you as a true No. 1 running back or wide receiver, but that doesn't mean that they won't make an immediate impact on the offensive side of things.

This year's draft class features a handful of intriguing athletes, a few of which will fit right into an offense next season.

Let's take a look at three underrated skill players who will make an immediate impact on offense.


Theo Riddick, RB, Notre Dame

Riddick saw time at wide receiver and running back in his four years with the Fighting Irish, which will only help him at the next level.

There's nothing special about Riddick's style with the ball, but he knows what he's doing in the open field. His instincts and vision with the ball in his hands make up for any physical shortcomings he may have.

Look for Riddick to become a dangerous third-down option right away. He can be placed in the slot, or can use his consistent hands out of the backfield. He's also a dangerous threat in the read-option offense because of his years in Brian Kelly's attack.

He's going to be on the board until the middle rounds, depending on how the BCS National Championship Game goes, and he's worth the pick at that point for any team looking for a smart, dangerous weapon.


Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee

If you're talking athletes, Patterson may be the best player in the draft. He's unpolished and still a bit unproven, but he possesses frightening big-play ability. With his 6'3'' frame, it's not inconceivable that he could develop into a No. 1 wideout as well.

Evan Woodbery of the Knoxville News Sentinel reports that Patterson is expected to enter the draft though, so that bodes well for teams looking for a dangerous player for next season and the future.

Assuming that he does, Patterson probably won't climb any higher than the second or third round. He's a threat to take the ball the distance anytime he touches it, which could make for a ridiculous value pick at that point.

Patterson is a guy who you just give the ball too and let him run. He doesn't need a position, or a specific direction. He just needs the ball.

Whether it be as a special teams returner, receiver or ball-carrier, Patterson is going to provide plenty of excitement as an NFL rookie and for years to come.


Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State

Wheaton doesn't possess Patterson's size, but he's another outstanding athlete. Without him, the Beavers would have struggled to make big plays this season.

He finished the year with 1,200-plus yards and 11 receiving touchdowns this season. He also ran for two scores. Oregon State didn't have many guys who were capable of picking up huge chunks of yards per play, but he brought enough to the table by himself.

Wheaton is 6'1'', so he probably won't operate as a No. 1 receiver, but he could be deadly out of the slot. He understands the position, and has above-average hands as well.

Look for an NFL team to take Wheaton and make him their No. 3 receiver right away. He's also capable of returning kicks or taking carries out of the backfield, but he will make his money exploiting the interior of NFL defenses.