You would think we would be at "making their mark" with our two stud DT's. SMH....
MAKING THEIR MARK 1) San Diego Chargers
The Chargers drafted three players who have made serious contributions as rookies, beginning with offensive tackle D.J. Fluker (drafted in the first round, 11th overall). From Day 1, Fluker has started for an offensive line that has been much better than it was prior to his arrival, leading to a stronger ground game and increased protection for Philip Rivers. In a resurgent season, San Diego's quarterback has been sacked just 11 times through seven games; he's on pace for 25 sacks, which would be about half as many as he had in 2012 (49).
Thanks to a foot injury, Manti Te'o (second round, 38th overall) got off to somewhat of a slow start. However, since making his first appearance in Week 4, the linebacker has added something to San Diego's run defense, showing he can play in space. And as for first-year pros helping Rivers, Fluker isn't the only one: Keenan Allen (third round, 76th overall) has 399 receiving yards, third-most among rookies. Allen has come on especially strong lately, leading all receivers with 107 yards in the Bolts' big Week 7 win over Indianapolis.
2) Detroit Lions
Fifth overall pick Ziggy Ansah has three sacks and 19 tackles in six starts for the Lions. The notoriously green defensive end is having the kind of impact on the pass rush that many more experienced guys can only dream of making. Offensive guard Larry Warford (third round, 65th overall), meanwhile, has started every game for a line that has allowed Matthew Stafford to be sacked just 10 times. Jim Schwartz told me after the draft that Warford's lack of speed -- one of the things the player was knocked for as a prospect -- would not be relevant to the team's plans; I'd say the Lions coach has been proved 110 percent right. And cornerback Darius Slay (second round, 36th overall) has helped in the secondary.
There's one more promising Lions draftee who might slip under the radar by virtue of his position: punter Sam Martin (fifth round, 165th overall). The Appalachian State product is averaging 48.5 yards per kick -- 7 yards better than Detroit's punter averaged last season -- and has already had 10 punts downed inside the 20. I think Martin has been one of the factors behind the Lions' improved play in 2013.
3) New York Jets
The Jets' had a very, very good draft, highlighted by defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson (first round, 13th overall). With his quickness, tenacity and athletic ability, the Missouri product looks just like Warren Sapp; in eight games (seven starts), Richardson has 37 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. And, of course, there's quarterback Geno Smith (second round, 39th overall). Yes, he's been inconsistent, but the bottom line is, he's performing better than anyone expected. Anytime you can get a viable starting quarterback in the second round, it's a good draft, even if your first pick -- cornerback Dee Milliner, taken ninth overall -- is struggling.
New York also snapped up a couple of good complementary players in guard Brian Winters (third round, 72nd overall) and Tommy Bohanon (seventh round, 215th overall). Winters will be a good pass protector for the Jets for many years, while Bohanon has shown himself to be a good blocker and receiver.