"This pick should be fairly obvious by now. Andrew Luck is the first quarterback since Peyton Manning, the man he will eventually replace, that has the status as an unqualified, once-in-a-lifetime first overall pick in the draft. The kid is about as sure of a thing as can be found in the NFL Draft."
After his nearly flawless Fiesta Bowl performance, I don't think I can really argue with that. Van Bibber then adds, correctly:
"The real drama here will be what the Colts do with Peyton Manning, who earns a $28 million bonus as of March 8."
This Peyton Manning/Andrew Luck situation for the Colts is shaping up to be one of the most compelling stories of the offseason, and Luck's forthcoming decision on whether or not to possibly force a trade will be something to watch.
Luck isn't the only Stanford Cardinal to watch for in this year's Draft. His blindside protector, Jonathan Martin, and interior enforcer, David DeCastro, are also projected to be first-round Draft picks and Van Bibber has them going early in his mock.
DeCastro is slated to go at #9 to the Miami Dolphins, and Van Bibber offers this explanation:
"Miami could use help on their offensive line. In the middle, Vernon Carey and Richie Incognito struggled with injuries as well as something called blocking. DeCastro has the makings of a truly elite guard, the kind that get $50 million contracts. With DeCastro, the Phins would even be on the hook for a lot less than that thanks to a budget-friendly new rookie salary schedule. Trading up, perhaps?"
Jonathan Martin comes four slots later, at #13, going to the Arizona Cardinals:
"Arizona came into their own in the season's second half. Their quarterback questions (again) aside, they could use help on the line. Martin is a big improvement, who helps in pass protection and run blocking. They need an upgrade over Levi Brown who is scheduled to make around $18 million in 2012, including a $9.6 million bonus, the last year of his contract."