Stanford linemen improve NFL stock


INDIANAPOLIS -- Jonathan Martin felt the pressure. Sure, he felt the pressure.After all, his duty as Stanford's left tackle was to serve as Andrew Luck's insurance policy. That's a lot of responsibility.
"You're definitely conscious that you have a potential No. 1 pick and potential Heisman winner in the backfield for two years," Martin said at the NFL scouting combine.
Luck appears ticketed to the Indianapolis Colts the top overall selection, and later in the first round a couple of the players who helped protect him will likely be chosen.
Both Martin and guard David DeCastro redshirted as freshmen at Stanford under then-coach Jim Harbaugh. DeCastro started all 39 games during his three-year career, while Martin started 37 games. Each player decided to forego his final season of eligibility to enter the NFL.RELATED: Stanford's 2012 NFL scouting combine class
"When guys on the offensive line can start for three and four years, I think that's something that pops at you, that the guys find a way to start in college football, major college program, for three years and they would've started a fourth year had they come back," Harbaugh said.DeCastro, expected to be chosen in the mid-first round solidified his reputation among NFL types with a solid workout Saturday morning at the annual scouting combine."(DeCastro) looked very coordinated during positional drills," Wes Bunting of National Football Post wrote. "He was able to keep his base down, maintain balance laterally and showcased 'plus' change of direction skills. Honestly, if I had a need at guard, I wouldnt have any qualms using a top 10 pick on him."DeCastro's standing as the No. 1 guard in the draft appears set. Meanwhile, Martin has plenty of competition from other tackles in the draft, including USC's Matt Kalil and Iowa's Riley Reiff."He's a great tackle," Kalil said of Martin. "He's really athletic, really big. One of the best tackles I've seen when I've gotten to watch him. I respect the kind of player he is and think he'll do a great job wherever he goes."Kalil and Martin disagree on one thing, however: Each believes he is the best tackle available in the draft."Without a doubt," Martin said. "As a competitor, you've got to think you're the best. Matt's a tremendous player, but I think I'm better than he is."Said Kalil, "I would definitely say I am the best tackle in the draft. Especially at my position, or quarterback position or any big-time position, confidence is definitely a big part of your game. And I think they want to hear that you do think you're the best tackle. And I think I am."

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