2013 NFL Draft: Defensive Stars Sure to Be an Instant Hit

Dan Talintyre@@dantalintyreSenior Analyst IIFebruary 4, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 27: Tevin Washington #13 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets pressured by Ezekiel Ansah #47 of the BYU Cougars at Bobby Dodd Stadium on October 27, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

With the completion of the Super Bowl, NFL fans worldwide now turn their attention to the 2013 NFL draft and the promise of a new beginning that it offers.

The draft is arguably the best opportunity that teams have every year to work on their team for the future—either drastically improving areas that were lacking or consolidating strengths that will lead them toward continued success.

Expect the 2013 NFL draft to be no different, with several teams desperately waiting for the chance to improve on their rosters and squad from the year before.

This year's draft class doesn't boast the high-impact quarterbacks like Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck of last year, but what it lacks in quarterbacks, it makes up for in high-impact defenders who could become future stars of the NFL.

Here's some of the top defensive stars that are sure to be instant hits in the 2013 NFL draft, as well as some of the teams that might end up signing them.


Star Lotulelei, Defensive Tackle

Wherever he ends up, Star Lotulelei will end up being a high-impact defensive rookie and someone that could start to turn a franchise around.

His sheer strength makes him an absolute nightmare to line up against, and he will most likely command double-teams on nearly every snap, opening up space around the line of scrimmage for his teammates to exploit.

The Utah tackle is brilliant at clogging up the running lanes and stuffing the attack; something that his new team will no doubt benefit from greatly in 2013.

Possible landing destinations: Oakland, Philadelphia 


Ezekiel Ansah, Defensive End/Linebacker

Ezekiel Ansah is a raw and dynamic pass-rusher, whose ability to play at either defensive end or linebacker makes him a sure-fire pick in 2013.

The 6'5", 270-pound Ansah had a strong end to the season in 2012 that saw him move up the boards to, perhaps, a top-20 pick for many, with his performance throughout the Senior Bowl as one of the best big-game performances he's delivered to date.

Few players have the genuine explosion of power that Ansah has—something that you can't really teach someone to develop in the game. They either have it or they don't, and the BYU man certainly has plenty of it at the moment.

His technique still needs some honing, but that exists in most rookies. Ansah is certainly a player worth taking a risk on early, for he'll prove to be an instant hit once he reaches the big time.

Possible landing designations: New York Jets, Cleveland, Tampa Bay


Kenny Vaccaro, Free Safety

Kenny Vaccaro enters the 2013 NFL draft as the clear top safety in the class, and rightly so, given his strength and proven skill throughout the season.

The Texas ball hawk finished the season with close to 100 tackles and 60 solo stops along with two interceptions and five pass deflections.

But it's his versatility that will see him as an instant hit in the NFL, with Vaccaro able to slot in anywhere across the secondary (probably not outside corner, but certainly in the nickel) that will have teams gushing with anticipation. 

The pattern of safeties in the league now is that they must be able to cover everything; Vaccaro fits that bill perfectly and will be a huge success because of it.

Possible landing destinations: Buffalo, San Diego, St. Louis


Dee Milliner, Cornerback

Much like Vaccaro is the best safety in the 2013 draft class, Alabama corner Dee Milliner is the clear top cornerback and could easily go in the top 10 this year.

His athleticism alone makes him an excellent option. He rarely gives up simple completions to wide receivers, leading the entire country last year with 20 pass breakups, as well as two interceptions and 54 tackles to his name.

Considering that it was Milliner's first year as a full-time starter, the 'Bama boy did incredibly well, and has the potential to produce similar results in his first year in the league.

Which could lead to some big things once he hits the NFL, considering that his first year produced a first-team All-American and All-SEC team berth, a SEC Championship ring and a brilliant shutdown performance on Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert.

Possible landing destinations: Detroit, Tennessee, San Diego, Tampa Bay


Which defensive stars are you watching out for in the 2013 NFL Draft?

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