Andrew Luck (Round 1, Pick #1, Indianapolis Colts)
Taken in the spot he would've occupied had he left college a year ago, Luck fell in the laps of the Indianapolis Colts. How eager were they to get started on the Luck Era? They jettisoned Peyton Manning, one of the greatest quarterbacks ever to play in the NFL. You know all that, of course. Robert Griffin III was the second pick, and Luck and RG3 will be forever linked. After finishing one and two in the Heisman balloting four months ago, it was no surprise that they were the top two picks in this draft. There were some voices calling for the Colts to choose RG3 over Luck, but most rational minds saw this as nonsense. Even so, the two will be compared constantly, beginning with the first preseason games in August and extending for the duration of their careers. Griffin, however, will likely see more success this year, as his Washington Redskins are a much better team right now. When Luck stands in the huddle this fall, most of the faces looking back at him will be first- and second-year players. One face, however, will be familiar -- but more on that later.
David DeCastro (Round 1, Pick #24, Pittsburgh Steelers)
Even with all the justifiable hype surrounding Luck, there was talk before the draft that of the four Stanford stars available, the one sure-fire star was DeCastro. Can't-miss quarterbacks have missed before (Ryan Leaf, Tim Couch, Matt Lienert, and others), but DeCastro has been described as a "plug and play" pick, meaning that the Steelers will be able to insert him into their starting lineup and then forget about him for the next ten years. DeCastro wasn't supposed to slip this far in the draft, but when teams in the middle of the draft starting searching desperately for defense, he slipped far enough for Pittsburgh to grab him. The Steelers sent a clear message when they used all of about three minutes (probably just long enough to make a quick call to DeCastro) before running their pick up to the stage. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin had nothing but great things to say about his top pick: "It was just a fun evaluation. He played right guard in Stanford's offense and everything we would ask him to do you saw him do at Stanford, whether it was pulling or the pass protection in the play-action game... a large portion of their run-game went behind him. He made it a fun study. He is just a solid player and prospect in all areas."
Coby Fleener (Round 2, Pick #34, Indianapolis Colts)
Fleener had such a spectacular Pro Day at Stanford last month that most expected him to be drafted somewhere towards the middle or end of the first round. He was most often linked to the Giants with the final pick of the first day, but when New York passed on him, he seemed destined to end up in Indianapolis, reunited with his college quarterback. "I knew it was a possibility, a small chance," Fleener explained to the Associated Press. "I can't tell you how excited I am and what it means to have him at quarterback." Luck also seemed excited, as he reportedly sent Fleener a two-word text after he was selected: "Oh, yeah!" Both certainly realize it will be a long road, but they also certainly remember that the road probably looked even longer when they first arrived in Palo Alto together four years ago. Who knows where they'll be four years from now.
Jonathan Martin (Round 2, Pick #42, Miami Dolphins)
As recently as three months ago Jonathan Martin was projected as a top-ten pick and probably the best left tackle in the country aside from USC's Matt Kalil. Slowly but surely, however, Martin began slipping in one mock draft after another amidst concerns about his ability to play left tackle in the NFL. The final nail in the coffin finally came on Stanford's Pro Day when Martin was only able to manage twenty reps on the bench press. Admittedly, this is exactly twenty more than I could've managed, but when running back Jeremy Stewart followed Martin and hoisted the weight twenty-nine times, you could actually hear Martin's stock falling. But as Coach David Shaw said during his stint as a draft analysit on the NFL Network, there are very few human beings walking the earth with the combination of size and athleticism that Martin boasts. The Dolphins might see him as a right tackle right now, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see him end up on the other end of the line.
Undrafted Free Agent Signings:
San Francisco 49ers:
S Michael Thomas, DE Matt Masafilo, WR Chris Owusu, CB Johnson Bademosi. Apparently Coach Harbaugh still has a soft spot in his heart for the Cardinal.
Buffalo Bills: S Delano Howell
Anyone who hits like Howell will at least get a shot to play in the league.
Indianapolis Colts: WR Griff Whalen
Remember when you graduated from college and you and two or three of your friends delayed adulthood by renting an apartment together in the city? Same thing here, except one of the guys will be a millionaire. In related news, there is no truth to the rumor that the Colts have petitioned the league to be renamed the Indianapolis Cardinal.
Oakland Raiders: WR Corey Gatewood
Gatewood bounced back and forth between wide receiver and defensive back, so it will be interesting to see where he fits with the Raiders.
Philadelphia Eagles: RB Jeremy Stewart
Injuries prevented Stewart from showing what he could really do in college; hopefully he'll be healthier in the NFL.
All twelve players who participated in Stanford's Pro Day will be in NFL camps this summer, which certainly sends a message to future recruits. Of those twelve, however, only one made an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. Enjoy...
[Photo Credits: 1> Uncredited; 2> Vincent Pugliese/US Presswire; 3> John Minchillo/Associated Press]