With the draft almost here, allow me to use years of watching football and mock drafting to speculate on where the Cardinal players go and to what teams and why. Without further ado, here are the Stanford based draft speculations.
The Cardinal see two players go in round one -
In round one, two players from Stanford will be selected, marking the fifth time in program history this goes down.
The quarterback position has become more important than ever over the last decade because oh how many snaps the offense consumes. The natural consequence of this change is an increased importance of getting pressure on the quarterback, making pass rushers extremely valuable, like a player with the speed and strength of Solomon Thomas. He can play inside and out, with his hand in the dirt or standing up. He is undersized but has nice hands and a good speed rush on the outside.
I see him going at the nine spot to Cincinnati or when Tennessee picks for the second time at 19. Thomas would be a great addition to a Bengals defensive line that has been tailing off as of late. The other great spot is Tennessee. With their problems in the secondary they can address the primary need early in the draft and add some depth to their line. This pick works great because the Titans like to go ground and pound on the offense, which paired with a defense that can put stress on opposing quarterbacks, would make them well suited to disrupt in the AFC South.
Obviously Christian McCaffrey is the other first round pick, who will likely go to the Green Bay Packers at 29th, giving them much needed help at running back, especially after the departure of Eddie Lacy. Because the Packers also always seem to have a hurt receiver, his pass catching ability will be well used and he will make a nice addition along side former Stanford product Ty Montgomery.
Dallas Lloyd will be drafted under his real value -
Lloyd is probably going to end up in the six to seven round range. While he is small and not necessarily a burner, he showed a real nose for the ball his final season. He is a scrappy player in the box and a very sure tackler.
He will likely end up on the New England Patriots or Arizona Cardinals after round seven and they will put him into their defensive back system to make him a great role player on the back end. His ceiling is a fifth or maybe even fourth round player and he will be a great third safety on a solid defense.
Michael Rector goes un-drafted -
He has the potential to be a really good deep threat with some incredible speed but he struggles in getting seperation and had some concerning drops this season. There are a lot of great receivers and Rector had a subpar season on a primary rushing team. He will end up on the Buffalo Bills or Bengals roster to add some depth to the position. On these squads with already dominant, established receivers he can have an impact on deep passes when the pressure is off, which will give him a chance to really develop his skill set.