It’s been more than a week since the Indianapolis Colts made Andrew Luck the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of more draft picks (David DeCastro also in the first, Coby Fleener and Jonathan Martinin the second round) and undrafted free agent signings.
One week seems like a long enough moratorium on projecting first-round draft picks. But ESPN.com’s Todd McShay couldn't wait that long. He’s released his way-too-early 2013 first round mock draft on Wednesday and Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov is projected to go in the first round to the New York Giants -- No. 31 overall.
Naturally, there is only so much credence we can give to this kind of projection this far in advance. After all, wasn’t Fleener supposed to go in the first round to the Giants?
Skov’s projection is an interesting one. Speaking with a couple of different Stanford coaches over the last couple of weeks, all indications are that Skov’s rehabilitation from a severe knee injury suffered in Week 3 against Arizona is progressing as planned.
Unplanned was his DUI arrest, which will continue to hang over the program until head coach David Shaw acts. For the record, Shaw said he would wait until after spring ball before announcing Skov’s punishment because he didn’t want to take away from the team.
But the bigger question is how Skov will perform once he returns to the field. Skov’s commitment to getting back healthy isn’t a question, nor is the mental aspect of the game. But when he goes to the combine and he starts getting poked and prodded and the injury questions come up, there is just no way to know how teams are going to react. Case-in-point: Washington running back Chris Polk, a pretty darn good back who was projected somewhere between the second and third rounds. But questions about his injured shoulders dropped him completely out of the draft.
And since we're projecting him as a first-round pick for kicks and giggles, would he slip by Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers in the middle 20s (who didn't think Harbaugh would snatch up Fleener?)
If Skov had never been injured (and for the sake of argument, let’s assume he came back for another year) I would feel a lot more confident projecting him as a first round pick. But until we see how he moves on the field and just how sturdy that surgically-repaired knee really is, putting him in the first round seems a little too far out on a limb even for me.