Friday, February 3, 2012
Stanford leads Pac-12 in mock NFL draft
By Ted Miller
Stanford's recent success just about Andrew Luck? That's just silly talk.
If ESPN NFL draft guru Todd McShay is on target with his mock 2012 NFL draft, plenty of evidence to the contrary will be produced on draft day.
McShay projects that Luck will be the No. 1 overall pick, of course, but he also projects that Luck will be joined by three teammates in the first round.
How many other teams will produce that many first-round picks? One: National champion Alabama.
The Pac-12 has seven first-round picks in McShay's mock draft.
Here's how McShay sees things, with some comments included.
1. Andrew Luck, QB Stanford (Indianapolis Colts)
2. Matt Kalil, OT, USC (St. Louis Rams)
13. David DeCastro, OG, Stanford (Arizona Cardinals)
This might seem a bit high for a guard, but DeCastro was the most dominant interior offensive lineman in the nation in 2011 and has a chance to develop into one of the elite NFL players at his position. Offensive tackle is also a need area, but DeCastro is a much better overall player than the top available tackle. Cornerback could also be a consideration, but both Janoris Jenkins (North Alabama) and Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama) carry off-field baggage.
18. Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford (San Diego Chargers)
20. Nick Perry, DE, USC (Tennessee Titans)
The Titans have three defensive ends set to become free agents and need a dynamic pass-rusher to complement Derrick Morgan. While Perry is raw, he has good initial burst and natural pass-rush skills. Cornerback, safety and offensive line are also need areas, but Perry makes the most sense in this situation.
26. Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford (Houston Texans)
The Texans would rather get a wideout here to complement Andre Johnson, but Rutgers' Mohamed Sanu and South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery would be reaches at this point. A difference-maker at tight end would help, though, and Fleener is a reliable target with toughness, a competitive nature and underrated speed/athleticism. He could draw some attention to the middle away from Johnson, and with a deep wideout class Houston could find a quality receiver in the next couple of rounds.
29. Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State (Baltimore Ravens)
Burfict is a physical freak with tremendous athleticism and explosive power. He's a top-20 talent, but questions about his discipline on and off the field are hurting his stock. However, Burfict could contribute immediately and would benefit greatly from the leadership and guidance of Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis. And you have to wonder whether the Ravens would press their luck and take another player with character flags after bringing cornerback Jimmy Smith into the fold last year.
Here's McShay's player rankings.
Here's Kiper's Big Board.
And here's Kiper's top-five by position, which is chock full of Pac-12 players.
Most interesting: Kiper ranks former Arizona State's Brock Osweiler No. 3 among the quarterbacks, ahead of former Arizona's Nick Foles, who is fifth. Luck, of course, is No. 1 and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III is No. 2.
If Osweiler ends up getting picked on the first day -- first two rounds -- it certainly will validate his surprising decision to enter the NFL draft.