The 2012 NFL Draft is still quite a ways away, but every mock draft, analyst and sportswriter in the country has known for nearly a year that Stanford Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck will be the overall No. 1 pick, sending him to the Indianapolis Colts. Luck, however, has a couple of Stanford teammates that are also projected to go in the first round of this year's draft.
As we've been saying since we started doing CMDs for this year, Arizona absolutely must take the best offensive lineman available here. Levi Brown has proven that he wasn't worth the fifth overall selection in 2007 as he's simply not a starting caliber left tackle. That being said, he played well on the right side and also possesses the talents to be a Pro Bowl guard. Starting RT, Brandon Keith, is a free agent. Kevin Kolb and John Skelton are expected to battle it out for the starting job and if either are going to have success, they will need improved protection up front. Drafting Martin would allow the Cardinals to slide Levi to his more natural RT position and let Keith walk in free agency. Martin has spent the last couple years protecting Andrew Luck's blindside and is a fine prospect despite being the 4th best OT.
Meanwhile, also at Draft Tek, Brent Stott predicts that the San Diego Chargers will select Stanford offensive guard David DeCastro as the No. 18 pick.
After assigning the Chargers a big, thumping LB in Dont'a Hightower last week, the DRAFTSIM model decides that David DeCastro is too much of a value to pass up at #18 and slides him in ahead of Hightower. Though I do love the selection of Hightower for the Chargers to shore up the sub-par run defense (as documented in past comments), there's no denying DeCastro's value here, making this the right pick. With the uncertainty surrounding Kris Dielman and the poor performance of Jeromy Clary at RT, DeCastro could immediately shore up either of the guard positions and could even kick out to RT in a pinch. If the Chargers want to decrease the punishment on Philip Rivers throughout the year, the best way to do that is with a potent rushing attack to setup the play action pass. With one of DeCastro's biggest strengths being his ability to clear a hole in the running game, this pick makes a lot of sense.
So many possibilities and plenty of time for more shake-ups before the draft. Stay tuned.
For all news and information regarding the Stanford Cardinal, please visit Rule of Tree. For updates and perspective on the Arizona Cardinals, head on over to Revenge of the Birds. For all things San Diego Chargers, stay tuned to Bolts From the Blue. For complete coverage of the 2012 NFL Draft, check out Mocking the Draft.