With the official countdown for the 2012 NFL draft officially underway, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has released his first version of his mock draft for this season, and has the Arizona Cardinals selecting Stanford’s Jonathan Martin to help them out on the offensive line.
Here is Kiper’s take on the pairing of Martin and the Cardinals:
Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
The Cardinals need to mend the offensive line — they haven’t drafted an offensive lineman before the fifth round since 2007 — and Martin is an athletic, powerful left tackle who can help upgrade this unit immediately. While questions remain about what the Cardinals have at the quarterback position after they committed so much both in terms of value and dollars to Kevin Kolb, there’s no question they have to be better up front regardless of who takes the snaps. Again, that’s a long time to go without getting some talent up front early in a draft. Martin would be a solid value here.
A guy like Martin could go a long way to help improve the Cardinals offensive line, especially a team that hasn’t drafted one higher than fifth in a long while now. They have the offense, they just need some more protection to let it unfold.