After a loaded 2012 Stanford draft class, expectations were high for the former Cardinal players heading into the 2013 NFL draft.
However, this class did not have quite as much star power as the 2012 batch, which saw four former Stanford players taken in the first couple of rounds.
Nonetheless, the Cardinal did make a strong showing this year. Tight end Zach Ertz went to Philadelphia at the beginning of the second round. Ertz will play for his old nemesis, former Oregon coach Chip Kelly.
Similar to Jim Harbaugh drafting LaMichael James a year ago, probably no one is more familiar with the damage that Ertz can do than Kelly, who had to gameplan against him several times.
Next off the board in the fourth round was towering tight end Levine Toilolo, who will join the Atlanta Falcons. Toilolo is a towering target and a matchup nightmare for safeties and linebackers.
Working with Tony Gonzalez, one of the all-time greats at the position, and quarterback Matt Ryan, Toilolo is entering into a great situation in Atlanta.
Lastly, Stepfan Taylor was taken in the fifth round by the Arizona Cardinals. New head coach Bruce Arians seems extremely excited about this pick, and one can understand why.
The Cardinals’ running game was abysmal a year ago, and along with the upgrade of Jonathan Cooper on the offensive line, Taylor, a complete back, will likely contribute some much-needed production in the desert right away.
One final note to make is the rather surprising fact that Chase Thomas went undrafted. The dominant outside linebacker totaled 44 tackles for loss over the past three seasons with the Cardinal, and was one of the main reasons that the Stanford front seven was so impenetrable.
Though Thomas will be disappointed, the three former Cardinal players that were drafted must be quite happy, as each should find himself in a favorable situation to see early playing time in 2013.
Look for these Stanford stars to contribute right away, and keep an eye on Thomas to see if he gets picked up in free agency.