The first round of the 2013 NFL Draft was about as unpredictable as most people expected it to be. There was only one quarterback selected, three wide receivers selected and for the first time in over 50 years there was not a single running back drafted in the first round.
Even with a clear lack of top-notch talent at the offensive skill positions I still believe that there are a few first round picks from this year’s draft that will blossom into quality NFL players and great fantasy football prospects as well. Here are two first round picks that I believe will become instant fantasy superstars this fall.
1. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
At 6-foot-1, 214 pounds, Hopkins is a very solid receiver. With the exception of star Andre Johnson the Texans are weak at the wide receiver position, so the addition of Hopkins will help take some of the pressure off of Johnson. Also, the respect and attention that Johnson receives from opposing defenses will play to the advantage of Hopkins because it will open up numerous holes in the secondary that he will definitely be able to capitalize on. While defenses game plan around Johnson look for Hopkins and quarterback Matt Schaub to connect early and often next season. I expect the rookie to put up a solid amount of receiving yards and with his great route running and fearless nature look for him to get numerous targets in the red zone ultimately allowing him to put up big fantasy numbers.
2. Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams
Austin is by the far the best playmaker in this year’s draft class, and a playmaker is exactly what the Rams need right now. The Rams are not deep at all at the wide receiver position so look for Austin to jump right into the starting lineup. Because of his speed and quickness he is a deep threat at all times and opposing defenses will have to respect that. If defenses play back then he will be able to make plays underneath the coverage, and if they play press coverage he will be able to beat the defense deep down the field. In addition, Austin will be the first big time playmaker that quarterback Sam Bradford will have at wide receiver since he was drafted by the Rams in 2010, so look for Bradford to target him all year long as these two young guns look to connect for some big plays. Lastly, Austin is fast enough that the Rams could use him in a Wildcat style offense or as a kick returner and punt returner allowing him to rack up some extra fantasy points. Just remember, speed kills, and speed is Tavon Austin’s specialty.