It was déjà vu for a Stanford tight end at the 2013 NFL Draft. Just like in 2012 when Coby Fleener ‘11, M.A. ‘12 barely slipped out of the first round, senior Zach Ertz was not taken in Round No. 1 Thursday night, but is projected to be one of the first players taken when Round No. 2 begins Friday evening.
Heading into the draft, experts were split on whether Ertz would be a late first-round pick, potentially to the Atlanta Falcons or the San Francisco 49ers at picks No. 30 and No. 31 respectively, or an early second rounder. Fleener had a similar rating when he was picked with the second pick of the second round—34th overall—by the Indianapolis Colts in 2012.
In that 2012 draft, Stanford had two first round picks. The Colts took Andrew Luck ‘12 with the first overall pick and the Pittsburgh Steelers took David DeCastro ‘12 with the 24th pick.
With the first overall pick Thursday, the Kansas City Chiefs selected Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher, a move that was expected for most of the day Thursday. That pick sparked a run of lineman; three of the first four picks were offensive tackles.
Oregon had two of the first three picks from the Pac-12, which had five players taken in the first round overall. The Miami Dolphins moved up to the third slot to select the Ducks’ defensive end Dion Jordan. Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei went next at 14th overall to the Carolina Panthers. Then the Chicago Bears made Oregon offensive lineman Kyle Long the 20th overall selection.
The Falcons traded up to take Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant with the 22nd overall pick. UCLA defensive end Datone Jones was the last Pac-12 player taken Thursday night, going to the Green Bay Packers with the 26th pick.
Ertz is widely regarded as the second-best tight-end prospect in the draft behind Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert. The Cincinnati Bengals selected Eifert with the 21st overall pick.
The first five picks of the second round belong to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the 49ers, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Detroit Lions and the Bengals. Of those five, the 49ers have been the most closely linked to Ertz. Ertz was recruited to Stanford by 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Ertz led Stanford in receiving in 2012 with 69 catches for 898 yards and six touchdowns. Ertz finished his collegiate career with 112 catches for 1,434 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The second round is set to begin Friday at 3:30 p.m. The third round will run immediately following the second round, with the fourth through seventh rounds coming on Saturday.
Contact Sam Fisher at safisher ‘at’ stanford.edu.