Stanford Football: How the Cardinal's New Offensive Line Will Remain a Strength
Andrew Luck is one of the most prolific quarterbacks to come out of college in the last 10 years. His move to the NFL will be a huge loss for Stanford.
His absence will be made even more difficult by the loss of the Cardinal’s two star offensive linemen.
Tackle Jonathan Martin went with the No. 42 pick to the Miami Dolphins, and guard David DeCastro went to the Pittsburgh Steelers with the No. 24 pick. They led an outstanding offensive line that helped Stanford average 208 rushing yards per game and only allow 11 sacks for the entire season last year.
While that is almost impossible to replace, the team has some good news going forward for the offensive line. Stanford returns three starters from its line last year, including Sam Schwartzstein, who is on the Rimington trophy watch list—an award for the best center in college football.
More importantly, Stanford has a great 2012 draft class coming in for its offensive line. The Cardinals boast two of the top four offensive tackles on ESPN's list of the top 100 tackles. Those two players are Andrus Peat from Temple, Arizona and Kyle Murphy from San Clemente, California.
Stanford also nabbed third-ranked offensive guard Joshua Garnett out of Puyallap, Washington. He will likely compete for the starting job alongside David Yankey.
Overall, the Cardinals look like they will be able to survive the inevitable turmoil of losing two star offensive linemen. They return three of the team's starters from last year and add a 5-star tackle, three 4-star tackles and a borderline 4/5-star guard.
This new lineup will see a drop in the production from last year’s team, but should be able to hold its own for Stanford. The line will probably give up more sacks than last year, but that is partially because a first-year quarterback is more prone to taking sacks.
Running back Stepfan Taylor should also be able to help the line adjust. He is an established back who is coming off of a year in which he rushed for over 1,000 yards and caught over 20 passes.
With this great offensive line class coming into Palo Alto, the Cardinals can focus more on how they will replace their offensive weapons from last year, especially Andrew Luck and Cody Fleener.
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