The 2012 NFL Draft is right around the corner and the Stanford Cardinal will be well-represented with as many as four players going in the first round. It appears that Andrew Luck, Jonathan Martin and David DeCastro are all locks for the top-15 picks or so, while tight end Coby Fleener appears to be right on the cusp of being a first round selection. The latest mock draft from FOX Sports has all four players going in the first round. Let's take a look:
Luck goes No. 1 overall to the Colts:
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford: I've read a lot of articles and tweets over the past couple days suggesting that RG3 "won" the combine this weekend in Indianapolis. I'm not quite sure what that means, though.
Andrew Luck's still the consensus top pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and everyone I've spoken to still has the Stanford star and former high-school valedictorian as the top-rated quarterback on their draft boards.
Martin makes his way into the top-10 and heads to Miami:
Though Iowa tackle Riley Reiff is the second-rated tackle on a lot of pundits' boards right now, I actually like Martin as a future pro a bit more.
With Jake Long locked in at left tackle and Mike Pouncey the center for the long-term future, the Dolphins could do a lot worse than plugging Martin in at right tackle.
DeCastro heads south to the Cardinals:
13. Arizona Cardinals: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford: What the Cardinals do with both Levi Brown and their quarterback situation will greatly influence their first-round selection this year. They've passed on going with an offensive tackle the past three drafts and I think they do so again this time around.
Instead of reaching on a tackle, look for Arizona to bolster the interior of its offensive line, adding a mauler like DeCastro in the middle. Lost in a lot of the Andrew Luck and Jonathan Martin draft buzz this year was the season DeCastro had at guard for Stanford.
And Fleener heads to Pittsburgh and Ben Roethlisberger:
24. Pittsburgh Steelers: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford: I'm sticking with this one. Fleener's a first-round talent and Pittsburgh seems like an awfully good place for him.
If the success of Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Aaron Hernandez and Vernon Davis showed us anything this season, it's that a dynamic tight end can make a good offense into a great one.
Heath Miller's had a great run in Pittsburgh, but Fleener would be a tremendous addition to the already potent Steelers offense. Andrew Luck's top target at Stanford, Fleener is a 6-6, 240-pound athletic big man who could make an immediate impact on the next level.