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April 27, 2013

Toilolo, Taylor selected on Day 3

Day Three of the NFL Draft was a mixed bag for the draft-eligible Stanford football alums. Two more Cardinal players were drafted, bringing the program's total to three, but several hopefuls did not hear their names called.

Tight end Levine Toilolo Stanford's second selection of the draft, was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons with the final pick in the fourth round.

The tandem of Ertz and Toilolo gave Stanford two picks in the first four rounds of the draft -- only the second time a school has accomplished the feat in NFL Draft history



On paper, Toilolo finds himself in an enviable situation. Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan is one of the best in the league, the Falcons have two top receivers in Julio Jones and Roddy White to spread the field, and perhaps the best tight end in league history, former Cal star Tony Gonzalez, is entering (probably) his final NFL season.

"I'm beyond excited right now. I'm looking forward to being a part of the Falcons organization," Toilolo said in a statement released by Stanford. "I'll be able to learn from Tony Gonzalez, a future Hall of Famer and one of the best to ever play the position in the game. I can't wait to get out there to Atlanta, get to work and be a part of this team."

Beyond Gonzalez, the tight end depth chart appears manageable. The second-leading tight end on the Falcons roster, Michael Palmer, had only six receptions in 2012. And with Gonzalez not planning on attending training camp (a condition of his return to Atlanta for a final season), there will be ample opportunity for Toilolo to leave a mark.

A few spots after Toilolo was chosen, Stepfan Taylor was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona head coach Bruce Arians coached Andrew Luck last season in Indianapolis, and said after drafting Taylor that Luck had been in his ear about "Kulabafi" all last year.

"It's a blessing to be a part of the Arizona Cardinals' (organization)," Taylor said in a statement released by Stanford. "This is the perfect situation for me. I want to thank the Stanford family for the last four years, all of their support and best wishes."

Like Toilolo, Taylor finds himself in a positive situation.

Though the Cardinals drafted another running back in the 6th round of their 2013 draft, their current depth chart is largely lacking in proven running back depth.

Somewhat shockingly, not a single running back on the 2012 Cardinals exceeded 400 yards. The team amassed only 1,204 yards on the season, more than 300 fewer than Taylor gained at Stanford.

The news wasn't all positive for former Cardinal players, however. Linebacker Chase Thomas, thought to be a near-lock to be selected as a late-round pick, went undrafted. As did Terrence Brown, who left Stanford with a year of eligibility to pursue his professional aspirations, and the rest of the Cardinal's draft-eligible prospects.

Expect many of those players to sign with NFL teams soon, however. Already there have been reports on Twitter that Thomas has signed with the New Orleans Saints.

Thomas confirmed his signing on Twitter.






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