Now that Luck has decided to return to Stanford for another season lets now turn our attention to the task at hand - what to do with our 3rd overall pick in this upcoming draft.
Let me start by saying that I feel that Luck returning to Stanford was a great thing for us because I believe that Carolina would have taken Luck with the first overall pick in the draft. Richardson has made that very clear. Now at least we still have a fighting chance at him next year.
This leaves us with the 3rd overall pick this year. What should we do? Many have suggested (me included) that we should address the D-Line (either DT or DE) with either Bowers or Fairley, both of whom are coming off incredible seasons. Then there's Dareus, another Junior, who has two seasons but nothing that indicates that he should be taken so high. The problem is that all three of these guys are Juniors who are basically 1 year wonders like our favorite whipping boy, Mr Maybin. I for one am not that keen on potentially wasting another top pick on another bust.
If we look at the top talent that has experience and that has proven that they are more than just a flash in the pan we have:
Patrick Patterson, who is also a Junior but a solid 3 year starter - This guy looks like the real deal. He doesn't have that many INTs primarily because he's such a good lock down corner. He's big & physical and will be a great lock down corner at the next level. The question that I would ask is: Are we changing from zone to man? I personally think that we are better suited for a zone defense. McGee, Florence & Corner are definitely better suited for Zone and I am tempted to add McKelvin to the mix also. So why would we take a press coverage man guy?
AJ Green, another Junior is also a very solid prospect - he's a 3 year starter that averages 54 catches a year around 900 y and 8 TDs. He's been extremely consistant every year. He's been compared to Calvin Johnson but I don't think that he should be because he never had a breakout year like Calvin. Calvin had similar numbers in his two first years but then had a breakout third year with 76 receptions for 15 TDs and well over 1200yards, whereas Green has remained constant for all three years, never surpassing the 1000y mark or 9tds. Although he's a very solid player and I think he's worth a top 5 pick, I'm starting to think that he's a bit of a luxury for us at #3. If he'd drop to us at #3, I'd almost prefer using him to trade down a few spots.
Gabe Carimi, a senior LT from Wisconsin is arguably the top LT in this years draft. This guy is a very solid starter. He took over for Joe Thomas (3rd overall pick) in 2007 and has started every game since. He is known as a hard worker with somewhat of a mean edge to him and very smart. Not a freak athlete by any means but very good pass defender as well as run blocker. He looked extremely good in the Rose Bowl. This guy is definitely a top 10-15 pick. He is as blue chip as they get in this year's draft. An immediate starter at RT but IMO might also succeed at LT at some point.
I think that we are in a great position to move down a few spots. If Green is still there then I could definitely see Cleveland being interested in moving up for Green. If Peterson is there then options are even better, I could see San Fran being interested. And I could think of a few teams that'd be interested in moving up for Bowers/Fairley/Dareus So I think that we are in a great position to slide down a few spots and start fixing something that should have been addressed a long time ago, our Offensive Tackle position.