The 2012 NFL Draft is just around the corner and no fewer than three members of the Stanford Cardinal are expected to be selected in the first round.
It is safe to assume by now that most top analysts have come to an agreement regarding Andrew Luck. Namely, that the Stanford quarterback and Heisman Trophy runner-up will be selected by the Indianapolis Colts as the number one overall selection. But there are two offensive linemen from the Cardinal that are also drawing a lot of interest from some teams that could use serious O-line assistance in the coming year and beyond. Mock drafting website Draft Tek recently took a look at where these two gentlemen might end up.
After Kris Dielman went down with a concussion in Week 7, the Chargers turned to 3rd year OL Tyronne Green as his replacement which, unfortunately, failed miserably as Green looked over-matched in the passing game and borderline inept in run blocking. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Green was 64/77 in the guard rankings, which is particularly poor considering he only played 555 snaps (a typical starter has over 1000). With the long term health of Dielman in question, the Chargers would be wise to take David DeCastro, who might be the best guard prospect since Steve Hutchinson. Technically sound and very athletic with a good, low base, yet light on his feet. He's also very intelligent and aware, but still has the mean streak to finish strong. DeCastro could step in on Day 1 and replace Dielman if necessary and with a year or two in an NFL weight room, he might just end up the best guard in the league.
Next, Draft Tek predicts that left offensive tackle Jonathan Martin will not be selected until the Houston Texans make their No. 27 overall pick in the first round. They explain:
If Jonathan Martin falls this far in the 1st round, Bob McNair should hire Carl Lewis to sprint the card to the podium - what a perfect fit! Martin at LOT allows incumbent Duane Brown to move inside to his more natural position of OG and 2011 draft choice Derek Newton should be ready to push ROT Eric Winston for a starting position, giving the Texans a pair of talented bookends for the next decade. Martin understands pressure, having protected Andrew Luck's blind side for the past few years, and is athletic with natural bend, lateral agility and good foot quickness. He plays with a wide base which allows him to establish a strong anchor against bull rushes and combines football intelligence with a bit of a nasty, mean streak (which old Long Ball loves in his Big Uglies). This one draft choice improves the Texan OL at more than one position!
It seems unlikely, with this many teams needing offensive line help in 2012, that Martin would still be around that late in the first round, but Draft Tek certainly makes a compelling argument as to the nature of his fit there. It will certainly be interesting to see how this all ends up shaking out.