Matthew J. Stein, RotoExperts.com
9:39 pm, March 5th, 2013
With the 2013 NFL Combine in the rear-view mirror, we now have a better understanding of just how gifted prospects are athletically. While the combine isn’t the most important thing when trying to figure out whether a player will be productive in the NFL, it can certainly help us evaluate just how much of an impact a prospect can have as a rookie.
Today we are going to look at the biggest winners at the 2013 NFL Combine, and see how their outstanding performances will impact their rookie seasons in Fantasy Football.
1.Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The biggest issue concerning Austin has always been his size. At only 5’8”, Austin needed to excel at the speed and athleticism drills to prove he’s worth a high draft pick.
He not only excelled, he exceeded all expectations. He ran a 4.34 40-yard dash and had a 32” vertical to go with it. While he’ll never be a legitimate No. 1 receiver like Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald, he still has the ability to be a dynamic player in Fantasy Football.
Think of him as a more athletic version of Wes Welker. He’s got great hands and an incredible ability to make plays after the catch. Whoever ends up drafting him is going to be drafting a truly special playmaker.
Look for Austin to excel in PPR leagues and for him to make an impact in a number of ways as a rookie.
2.Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas
In a relatively weak class of running backs, Davis made a strong statement as a sleeper pick come April.
Davis was hampered with injuries in the 2011 season and never seemed to fully recover this past season for the University of Arkansas. He was eventually benched, which hurt his overall draft stock.
However, Davis proved at the combine that he could still be an extremely talented playmaker at the next level. He’s got the speed (4.37 40-yard dash) and strength to be an every-down back in the NFL.
While he won’t warrant an early-round pick in Fantasy Football, he could end up having an impact similar to Alfred Morris in the 2013 season.
3.Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
A year off from college football didn’t seem to hurt Mathieu at all. He showed up at the combine in great shape and excelled in nearly every drill. While Mathieu still has a number of red flags concerning his character, there is little doubt that he can still be a dynamic defensive player in the NFL. He’s the type of defensive back that can line up at a number of positions and be successful.
On top of that, Mathieu is also a talented kick and punt returner. As long as a team is willing to take a chance on him, he should thrive as a playmaking cornerback in the NFL.
4.Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech
Had Rogers stayed at the University of Tennessee, we would likely be talking about him as first-round pick this year. However, off-field issues forced him off the Volunteers to a smaller school in Tennessee Tech University.
Off-field issues aside, Rogers proved to be one of the better all-around athletes at the combine. Not only does he have the speed to beat cornerbacks deep, but he also has the agility and quickness to make plays after the catch.
As long as he can stay out of trouble, he could end up having quite the rookie season.
5.Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon
For those who are into IDP Fantasy Football leagues, Jordan has to be in consideration as the first rookie defensive player drafted.
He is an extremely unique talent who should thrive in the NFL. Not only does he have the speed and strength to successfully rush the quarterback, he is agile enough to drop into coverage against receivers and running backs alike.
It’s extremely likely that Jordan is the second coming of Jason Pierre-Paul, except even more versatile. He should make an impact in every aspect of the game defensively, and he could end up being one of the best Fantasy Football players regardless of position.
6.Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
Not only did Eifert separate himself as the top tight end in this year’s class, he almost certainly guaranteed himself a high draft pick.
Eifert has all the tools you want in a three-down tight end. He’s got great hands, the ability to make plays vertically and he is a willing and capable blocker. What Eifert really showed at the combine was the ability to easily change directions.
At 250 pounds, it shouldn’t be as easy to change directions as Eifert made it to be. He went from being one of the most solid rookie prospects in the draft to being a potential stud at the next level.
Look for him to excel in Fantasy Football as a rookie and establish himself as one of the premier players at his position early in his career.
all photos via Getty Images]