NFL Draft 2013: First-Round Sleepers with NFL Star Power

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at the podium on stare during the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

The 2013 NFL draft is a huge topic of discussion for the teams with nothing to play for in the postseason, but every organization is trying to find that first-round sleeper pick that turns into a full-blown star.

While these young standouts are hard to find, they can change the direction of a franchise.

All of the following players have game-changing abilities, and teams should be looking to the latter stages of the first round before these potential stars come off the board.


Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame

Despite a slow start to the season—more a product of the turnover at quarterback than anything else—Notre Dame senior tight end Tyler Eifert has the size and pass-catching ability to be a force in the NFL.

At 6’6” and 251 pounds, Eifret must improve on his blocking ability, but that’s something that can be taught when he gets to the NFL. What can’t be taught is size and pure skill.

Eifert has caught at least four passes for over 50 yards in six of the Fight Irish’s last seven games, and has become a big weapon in Notre Dame’s passing attack.

With a sheer lack of depth at TE in this draft, Eifert will be a steal.


John Jenkins, DT, Georgia

There is still plenty of time before the scouting combine and workouts, but as of right now, there aren’t enough people talking about the raw skill of Georgia Bulldogs senior nose tackle John Jenkins.

Jenkins is NFL-ready and will be a run-stopping machine for any team that needs help in the center of their defensive line.

With the added ability to get past the first line of defense and rush the passer, the Georgia standout would be a good fit in a 3-4 or a 4-3 scheme.

No matter which team takes him, they will be getting a young star ready to explode.


Jake Matthews, OL, Texas A&M

While there are offensive linemen that will be drafted higher than Texas A&M standout tackle Jake Matthews if he declares—reports are that he could stay at A&M (h/t Russell Lande)—few will step into the NFL and make as much impact as the young star.

After proving his mettle protecting Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel in 2013, any team in the league that has a scrambling quarterback will be looking to take the strong, yet versatile, tackle.

Add in a high football I.Q., and Matthews is destined for big things in the NFL whether he decides to enter the draft this year or wait until 2014.


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