The 2013 NFL Draft did not have nearly the same amount of hype as 2012, but that doesn’t mean there was no talent to be snatched up. Several teams feel as though they improved quite a bit thanks to the seven round event. The question is which two players are ready to contribute at a high level right away? Here’s an early pair of predictions for the offense and defense.
Offensive Rookie Of The Year – Tyler Eifert
Based on need, the Cincinnati Bengals could have gone elsewhere to look for a talented player in 2013. It shocked some that they would take a tight end in the first round, but then again, it was a bit of a shocker that Tyler Eifert was still around. No one doubts the former Notre Dame tight end, and now that some time has passed to think about it, he could be the perfect fit for Cincinnati.
Although he won’t get that instant chance to be a first or second option like Tavon Austin or DeAndre Hopkins, Eifert is a huge target who will get more touches as the team gets closer to the end zone. The good news for him is Cincinnati will be near that end zone quite a bit. Quarterback Andy Dalton has his pick of targets, ranging from AJ Green to Jermaine Gresham. However, Eifert’s athletic ability is in the same class as other dominant tight ends of this era like Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham. While others might put up slightly better fantasy football numbers than him, Eifert’s ability to contribute to what should be a playoff team will give him the edge.
Defensive Rookie Of The Year – Barkevious Mingo
The Tigers of LSU had a superb defense last season, and a lot of that had to do with linebacker Barkevious Mingo. Most advanced scouts at the NFL agree that as good as he was in college, he could be even better in the pros.
Mingo should slot into an outside linebacker slot for the Cleveland Browns, who play in the 3-4. In their defensive scheme, expect him to get a lot of chances to make things happen by blitzing the quarterback. Mingo shot up the draft projections thanks to his quickness and ability to reach the quarterback, so it appears as though the team is going to play him towards his strengths.
At LSU, Mingo was a defensive end who was able to pick up 12.5 sacks in his final two seasons in college. Things will change completely for him at the pro level, turning him into an absolute force. Unless an injury occurs during the season, Mingo will simply be in the hunt for this award. He has to be the frontrunner to be named the best young defensive player in the game.