Every year, stars are born from the NFL draft. Some stars shine while others threaten to fade into the background.
The Minnesota Vikings made an unprecedented move in this years draft, trading up to get three first-round picks. Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd might be injured for the rest of preseason, but he also might be one of the best defensive rookies this season.
He'll be able to learn from All-Pro tackle Kevin Williams, before he probably replaces him as Williams gets older. Floyd has natural athleticism and showed against the Houston Texans that he has the ability to rush the passer brilliantly.
Detroit Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah was drafted number fifth overall in the draft, and he helped Mark Sanchez to start this year as he ended the last. On the Jets very first drive of preseason, Ansah intercepted a throw from Sanchez and ran it in the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown. At 6'5" with outstanding athleticism and a hard hit, he could be a real gem for the Lions.
Outstanding, considering he only played one full season at college.
Kenny Vaccaro was another first-round pick, drafted by the New Orleans Saints. The safety has so far recorded 12 tackles and a pass defence in two preseason games, and has also shown some amazing stamina as he seemingly never stops running.
Vaccaro is strong and agile and could be a further improvement to the Saints defence who no longer feel the strain caused by the 'Bountygate' scandal.
Tyrann Mathieu could have been a first-round pick, but alleged drug problems meant he fell all the way to the third round before being snapped up by the Arizona Cardinals.
Matthieu has recorded 11 tackles in the two preseason games he's taken part in, and has also notched up a sack and a defended pass. He can play as a slot cornerback or a free safety, and looks comfortable in both positions.
While small at just 5"9', he recorded 117 inches in the broad jump and is able to compete for jump balls with taller receivers. If he is able to focus, he could be a future Pro Bowler.
Lastly, Nick Moody. If the San Francisco 49ers are going to go one better and win the Superbowl this year, they will need just a little bit extra. Moody was pick number 180, being drafted midway through the sixth round.
At 6"1' and scoring 118 in the broad jump in the NFL combine, he looks like someone who should never have dropped that late. He can play in most positions on defence, but looks set to be used primarily as a special teams player at the start of the season.
If the 49ers have one or two injuries at linebacker, Moody could be in for a shot at starting there, as he's picked up 15 tackles in just two preseason games. If he gets his chance, expect him to grab it with both hands.
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